The big picture question driving my research is how do complex systems of interactions among individuals / agents result in emergent properties and how do those emergent properties feedback to affect individual / agent decisions. I have explored this big picture question in a number of different contexts including the evolution of cooperation, suburban sprawl, traffic patterns, financial systems, land-use and land-change in urban systems, and most recently social media. For all of these explorations, I employ the tools of complex systems, most importantly agent-based modeling.
My current research focus is on understanding the dynamics of social media, examining how concepts like information, authority, influence and trust diffuse in these new media formats. This allows us to ask questions such as who do users trust to provide them with the information that they want? Which entities have the greatest influence on social media users? How do fads and fashions arise in social media? What happens when time is critical to the diffusion process such as an in a natural disaster? I have employed agent-based modeling, machine learning, geographic information systems, and network analysis to understand and start to answer these questions.
I am a scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory. Previously, I worked for the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as an internal consultant on statistical computing. I have also been a consultant to numerous government agencies, including the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Executive Office of the President, and the United States Department of Homeland Security. I am a passionate educator, teaching mathematics and statistics at the University of Maryland University College since 2010 and have taught public management at Central Michigan University, Penn State, and the University of Baltimore.
I am fortunate to play in everyone else’s backyard. My most recent published scholarship has modeled the population of Earth-orbiting satellites, analyzed the risks of flood insurance, predicted disruptive events, and sought to understand small business cybersecurity. I have written two books on my work and am currently co-editing two more.
In my spare time, I serve Howard County, Maryland, as a member of the Board of Appeals and the Watershed Stewards Academy Advisory Committee of the University of Maryland Extension. Prior volunteer experience includes providing economic advice to the Columbia Association, establishing an alumni association for the College Park Scholars Program at the University of Maryland, and serving on numerous public and private volunteer advisory boards.
Prof. Christian E. Vincenot is by nature an interdisciplinary researcher with broad scientific interests. He majored in Computer Science / Embedded Systems (i.e. IoT) at the Université Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg, France) while working professionally in the field of Computer Networking and Security. He then switched the focus of his work towards Computational Modelling, writing his doctoral dissertation on Hybrid Modelling in Ecology, and was awarded a PhD in Social Informatics by Kyoto University in 2011 under a scholarship by the Japanese Ministry of Research. He subsequently started a parallel line of research in Conservation Biology (esp. human-bat conflicts) under a postdoctoral fellowship of the Japanese Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS) (2012-2014). This led him to create the Island Bat Research Group (www.batresearch.net), which he is still coordinating to this date. In 2014, he was appointed as the tenured Assistant Professor of the Biosphere Informatics Laboratory at Kyoto University. He also been occupying editorial roles for the journals PLOS ONE, Frontiers in Environmental Science, and Biology. In 2020, he created Ariana Technologies (www.ariana-tech.com), a start-up operating in the field of Data Science/Simulation and IoT for crisis management.
Prof. Vincenot’s main research interests lie in the theoretical development of Hybrid Mechanistic Simulation approaches based on Individual/Agent-Based Modeling and System Dynamics, and in their applications to a broad range of systems, with particular focus on Ecology.
Eric Kameni holds a Ph.D. in Computer Science option modeling and application from the Radboud University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, after a Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science in Application Development and a Diploma in Master’s degree with Thesis in Computer Science on “modeling the diffusion of trust in social networks” at the University of Yaoundé I in Cameroon. My doctoral thesis focused on developing a model-based development approach for designing ICT-based solutions to solve environmental problems (Natural Model based Design in Context (NMDC)).
The particular focus of the research is the development of a spatial and Agent-Based Model to capture the motivations underlying the decision making of the various actors towards the investments in the quality of land and institutions, or other aspects of land use change. Inductive models (GIS and statistical based) can extrapolate existing land use patterns in time but cannot include actors decisions, learning and responses to new phenomena, e.g. new crops or soil conservation techniques. Therefore, more deductive (‘theory-driven’) approaches need to be used to complement the inductive (‘data-driven’) methods for a full grip on transition processes. Agent-Based Modeling is suitable for this work, in view of the number and types of actors (farmer, sedentary and transhumant herders, gender, ethnicity, wealth, local and supra-local) involved in land use and management. NetLogo framework could be use to facilitate modeling because it portray some desirable characteristics (agent based and spatially explicit). The model develop should provide social and anthropological insights in how farmers work and learn.
I am a PhD Candidate in the Biological Anthropology program at the University of Minnesota. My research involves using agent-based models combined with field research to test a broad range of hypotheses in biology. I have created a model, B3GET, which simulates the evolution of virtual organisms to better understand the relationships between growth and development, life history and reproductive strategies, mating strategies, foraging strategies, and how ecological factors drive these relationships. I also conduct field research to better model the behavior of these virtual organisms. Here I am pictured with an adult male gelada in Ethiopia!
I specialize in writing agent-based models for both research in and the teaching of subjects including: biology, genetics, evolution, demography, and behavior.
For my dissertation research, I have developed “B3GET,” an agent-based model which simulates populations of virtual organisms evolving over generations, whose evolutionary outcomes reflect the selection pressures of their environment. The model simulates several factors considered important in biology, including life history trade-offs, investment in body size, variation in aggression, sperm competition, infanticide, and competition over access to food and mates. B3GET calculates each agent’s ‘decision-vectors’ from its diploid chromosomes and current environmental context. These decision-vectors dictate movement, body growth, desire to mate and eat, and other agent actions. Chromosomes are modified during recombination and mutation, resulting in behavioral strategies that evolve over generations. Rather than impose model parameters based on a priori assumptions, I have used an experimental evolution procedure to evolve traits that enabled populations to persist. Seeding a succession of populations with the longest surviving genotype from each run resulted in the evolution of populations that persisted indefinitely. I designed B3GET for my dissertation, but it has an indefinite number of applications for other projects in biology. B3GET helps answer fundamental questions in evolutionary biology by offering users a virtual field site to precisely track the evolution of organismal populations. Researchers can use B3GET to: (1) investigate how populations vary in response to ecological pressures; (2) trace evolutionary histories over indefinite time scales and generations; (3) track an individual for every moment of their life from conception to post-mortem decay; and (4) create virtual analogues of living species, including primates like baboons and chimpanzees, to answer species-specific questions. Users are able to save, edit, and import population and genotype files, offering an array of possibilities for creating controlled biological experiments.