My primary research interests lie at the intersection of two fields: evolutionary computation and multi-agent systems. I am specifically interested in how evolutionary search algorithms can be used to help people understand and analyze agent-based models of complex systems (e.g., flocking birds, traffic jams, or how information diffuses across social networks). My secondary research interests broadly span the areas of artificial life, multi-agent robotics, cognitive/learning science, design of multi-agent modeling environments. I enjoy interdisciplinary research, and in pursuit of the aforementioned topics, I have been involved in application areas from archeology to zoology, from linguistics to marketing, and from urban growth patterns to materials science. I am also very interested in creative approaches to computer science and complex systems education, and have published work on the use of multi-agent simulation as a vehicle for introducing students to computer science.
It is my philosophy that theoretical research should be inspired by real-world problems, and conversely, that theoretical results should inform and enhance practice in the field. Accordingly, I view tool building as a vital practice that is complementary to theoretical and methodological research. Throughout my own work I have contributed to the research community by developing several practical software tools, including BehaviorSearch (http://www.behaviorsearch.org/)
Social network analysis has an especially long tradition in the social science. In recent years, a dramatically increased visibility of SNA, however, is owed to statistical physicists. Among many, Barabasi-Albert model (BA model) has attracted particular attention because of its mathematical properties (i.e., obeying power-law distribution) and its appearance in a diverse range of social phenomena. BA model assumes that nodes with more links (i.e., “popular nodes”) are more likely to be connected when new nodes entered a system. However, significant deviations from BA model have been reported in many social networks. Although numerous variants of BA model are developed, they still share the key assumption that nodes with more links were more likely to be connected. I think this line of research is problematic since it assumes all nodes possess the same preference and overlooks the potential impacts of agent heterogeneity on network formation. When joining a real social network, people are not only driven by instrumental calculation of connecting with the popular, but also motivated by intrinsic affection of joining the like. The impact of this mixed preferential attachment is particularly consequential on formation of social networks. I propose an integrative agent-based model of heterogeneous attachment encompassing both instrumental calculation and intrinsic similarity. Particularly, it emphasizes the way in which agent heterogeneity affects social network formation. This integrative approach can strongly advance our understanding about the formation of various networks.
Volker Grimm currently works at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Volker does research in ecology and biodiversity research.
How to model it: Ecological models, in particular simulation models, often seem to be formulated ad hoc and only poorly analysed. I am therefore interested in strategies and methods for making ecological modelling more coherent and efficient. The ultimate aim is to develop preditive models that provide mechanstic understanding of ecological systems and that are transparent and structurally realistic enough to support environmental decision making.
Pattern-oriented modelling: This is a general strategy of using multiple patterns observed in real systems as multiple criteria for chosing model structure, selecting among alternative submodels, and inversely determining entire sets of unknown model parameters.
Individual-based and agent-based modelling: For many, if not most, ecological questions individual-level aspects can be decisive for explaining system-level behavior. IBM/ABMs allow to represent individual heterogeneity, local interactions, and/or adaptive behaviour
Ecological theory and concepts: I am particularly interested in exploring stability properties like resilience and persistence.
Modelling for ecological applications: Pattern-oriented modelling allows to develop structurally realistic models, which can be used to support decision making and the management of biodiversity and natural resources. Currently, I am involved in the EU project CREAM, where a suite of population models is developed for pesticide risk assessment.
Standards for model communication and formulation: In 2006, we published a general protocol for describing individual- and agent-based models, called the ODD protocol (Overview, Design concepts, details). ODD turned out to be more useful (and needed) than we expected.
I am Professor in Computational Resilience Economics at the University of Twente (the Netherlands), which I joined in 2010. In September 2017 I also joined University of Technology Sydney (Australia) as Professor of Computational Economic Modeling working with spatial simulation models to study socioeconomic impacts of disasters and emergence of resilience across scales. I was honored to be elected as a Member of the De Jonge Akademie of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (DJA/ KNAW in 2016) and of Social Sciences Council (SWR/KNAW in 2017). From 2009 to 2015 I have been working part-time as an economist at Deltares – the leading Dutch knowledge institute in the field of water management – specializing in economics of climate change, with focus on floods and droughts management.
I am interested in the feedbacks between policies and aggregated outcomes of individual decisions in the context of spatial and environmental policy-making. The issue of social interactions and information diffusion through networks to affect economic behavior is highly relevant here. My research line focuses on exploring how behavioral changes at micro level may lead to critical transitions (tipping points/regime shifts) on macro level in complex adaptive human-environment systems in application to climate change economics. I use agent-based modelling (ABM) combined with social science methods of behavioral data collection on individual decisions and social networks. This research line has been distinguished by the NWO VENI and ERC Starting grants and the Early Career Excellence award of the International Environmental Modeling Society (iEMSs). In 2018 I was invited to serve as the Associate Editor of the Environmental Modelling & Software journal, where I have been a regular Member of the Editorial Board since 2013.
Raquel Guimaraes is a Postdoctoral Research Scholar at IIASA with support from the Brazilian Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel (CAPES). She is hosted by the Advanced Systems Analysis (ASA), Risk and Vulnerability (RISK), and World Population (POP) programs. Dr. Guimaraes is currently on sabbatical leave from her appointment as an Adjunct Professor in the Economics Department at the Federal University of Paraná (Brazil), where she carries out research on, as well as teaching, economic demography, development microeconomics and applied microeconometrics.
In her research at IIASA, Dr. Guimaraes aims to contribute to the extant literature and to policy-making by offering a case study from Brazil, examining whether and how individual exposure to floods did or not induce affected migration in a setting with intense urbanization, the city of Governador Valadares, in the State of Minas Gerais. To elucidate the role of vulnerability at the household-level in mediating the relationship between mobility and floods, she will rely on causal models and simulation analysis. Her study is aligned with and will have support from, the Brazilian Network for Research on Global Climate Change (Rede Clima), which is an important pillar in support of R&D activities of the Brazilian National Climate Change Plan.
Dr. Guimaraes graduated from the Federal University of Minas Gerais, Brazil, in 2007 with degrees in economics. She completed an MA degree in International Comparative Education at Stanford University (2011) and earned a doctorate in demography from the Federal University of Minas Gerais in 2014.
Ifigeneia Koutiva (female) is a senior environmental engineer, holding a PhD in Civil Engineering (NTUA), a Postgrad Diploma in Water Resources and Environmental Management (Un. of Belgrade - e-learning), an MSc in Environmental Technology (Imperial College London) and an MSc in Mining and Metallurgy Engineering (NTUA). Her PhD was funded by the Greek Ministry of Education through Heracleitous II scholarship. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar of the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) for 2020 - 2021. She has 10 years of experience in various EU funded research projects, both as a researcher and as a project manager, in the fields of socio-technical simulation, urban water modelling, modelling and assessment of alternative water technologies, artificial intelligence, social quantitative research, KPI and water indicators development and assessment and analysis of large data sets. She is very competent with programming for creating ICT tools for agent based modelling and data analysis tools and she is an experienced user of spatial analysis software and tools. She is also actively involved in the design and implementation of numerous consultation workshops and conferences. She has authored more than 20 scientific journal articles, conferences articles and research reports.
My research interests lay within the interface of social, water and modelling sciences. I have created tools that explore the effects of water demand management policies in domestic urban water demand behaviour and the effects of civil decision making in flood risk management. I am interested in agent based modelling, artificial intelligence techniques, the creation of ABM tools for civil society, Circular Economy, distributed water technologies and overall urban water management.