Community

Xiaotian Wang Member since: Friday, March 28, 2014

PHD of Engineering in Modeling and Simulation, Proficiency in Agent-based Modeling

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.

William Kennedy Member since: Wednesday, March 10, 2010 Full Member

BS, MS, PhD

Dr. William G. Kennedy, “Bill,” is continuing to learn in a third career, this time as an academic, a computational social scientist.

His first a career was in military service as a Naval Officer, starting with the Naval Academy, Naval PostGraduate School (as the first computer science student from the Naval Academy), and serving during the Cold War as part of the successful submarine-based nuclear deterrent. After six years of active duty service, he served over two decades in the Naval Reserves commanding three submarine and submarine-related reserve units and retiring after 30 years as a Navy Captain with several personal honors and awards.

His second career was in civilian public service: 10 years at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and 15 years with the Department of Energy. At the NRC he rose to be an advisor to the Executive Director for Operations and the authority on issues concerning the reliance on human operators for reactor safety, participating in two fly-away accident response teams. He left the NRC for a promotion and to lead, as technical director, the entrepreneurial effort to explore the use of light-water and accelerator technologies for the production of nuclear weapons materials. That work led to him becoming the senior policy officer responsible for strategic planning and Departmental performance commitments, leading development of the first several DOE strategic plans and formal performance agreements between the Secretary of Energy and the President.

Upon completion of doctoral research in Artificial Intelligence outside of his DOE work, he began his third career as a scientist. That started with a fully funded, three-year post-doctoral research position in cognitive robotics at the Naval Research Laboratory sponsored by the National Academy of Science and expanding his AI background with research in experimental Cognitive Science. Upon completion, he joined the Center for Social Complexity, part of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University in 2008 where he is now the Senior Scientific Advisor. His research interests range from cognition at the individual level to models of millions of agents representing individual people. He is currently leading a multi-year project to characterize the reaction of the population of a mega-city to a nuclear WMD (weapon of mass destruction) event.

Dr. Kennedy holds a B.S. in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy, and Master of Science in Computer Science from the Naval PostGraduate School, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology from George Mason University and has a current security clearance. Dr. Kennedy is a member of Sigma Xi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and a life member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a STEM volunteer with the Senior Scientists and Engineers/AAAS Volunteer Program for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the DC-area schools.

Cognitive Science, Computational Social Science, Social Cognition, Autonomy, Cognitive Robotics

Flaminio Squazzoni Member since: Sunday, November 07, 2010 Full Member

PhD. Assistant Professor of Economic Sociology

Flaminio Squazzoni is Full Professor of Sociology at the Department of Social and Political Sciences of the University of Milan and director of BEHAVE. He teaches “Sociology” to undergraduate students, “Behavioural Sociology” to master students and “Behavioural Game Theory” to PhD students. Untill November 2018, he has been Associate Professor of Economic Sociology at the Department of Economics and Management of the University of Brescia, where he led the GECS-Research Group on Experimental and Computational Sociology.

He is editor of JASSS-Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, co-editor of Sociologica -International Journal for Sociological Debate and member of the editorial boards of Research Integrity and Peer Review and Sistemi Intelligenti. He is advisory editor of the Wiley Series in Computational and Quantitative Social Science and the Springer Series in Computational Social Science and member of the advisory board of ING’s ThinkForward Initiative. He is former President of the European Social Simulation Association (Sept 2012/Sept 2016, since 2010 member of the Management Committee) and former Director of the NASP ESLS PhD Programme in Economic Sociology and Labour Studies (2015-2016).

His fields of research are behavioural sociology, economic sociology and sociology of science, with a particular interest on the effect of social norms and institutions on cooperation in decentralised, large-scale social systems. His research has a methodological focus, which lies in the intersection of experimental (lab) and computational (agent-based modelling) research.

Christopher Watts Member since: Monday, March 14, 2011 Full Member

PhD Warwick Business School, MSc Operational Research, University of Southampton, Post-graduate Diploma in Theology, University of Cambridge, MA / BA (Hons.) Philosophy, University of Cambridge

I live near Cambridge, and recently I developed agent-based land-use models with Geography PhD students there. I also took part in the “Cybernetics and Society” seminar.

Previously, I spent three years at Ludwig-Maximillians University, Munich, working on Human-Environment Relations and Sustainability, and over two and a half years at Surrey University, working on Innovation with Nigel Gilbert in the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS). The project at Surrey resulted in a book in 2014, “Simulating Innovation: Computer-based Tools for Rethinking Innovation”. My PhD topic, modelling human agents who energise or de-energise each other in social interactions, drew upon the work of sociologist Randall Collins. My multi-disciplinary background includes degrees in Operational Research (MSc) and Philosophy (BA/MA).

I got hooked on agent-based modelling and complexity science some time around 2000, via the work of Brian Arthur, Stuart Kauffman, Robert Axelrod and Duncan Watts (no relation!).

I am an agent-based modeller specialising in Netlogo and Excel/VBA. My recent interests include Human-Environment Relations, Innovation, Collective Intelligence and Governance Systems, and the Collapse of Complex Societies.

I have a longer term aim to study the modelling of Institutions, especially the cognitive architecture for agents who can recognise, learn and innovate in institutions.

If you’re based near Cambridge and have an idea for a modelling project, for the cost of a beer/coffee I’m always willing to offer advice.

Kimberly Rogers Member since: Wednesday, December 06, 2017 Full Member Reviewer

Environmental Engineering, PhD, Geological Sciences, Physical Geography, BSc, Music and Music Production, AASc

Dr. Kimberly G. Rogers studies the coupled human-natural processes shaping coastal environments. She obtained a B.Sc. in Geological Sciences from the University of Texas at Austin and began her graduate studies on Long Island at Stony Brook University’s School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences. Rogers completed her Ph.D. at Vanderbilt University, where she specialized in nearshore and coastal sediment transport. She was a postdoctoral scholar and research associate at the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2014, her foundation in the physical sciences was augmented by training in Environmental Anthropology at Indiana University Bloomington through an NSF Science, Engineering, and Education for Sustainability (SEES) Fellowship.

Rogers’s research is broadly interdisciplinary and examines evolving sediment dynamics at the land-sea boundary, principally within the rapidly developing river deltas of South Asia. As deltas are some of the most densely populated coastal regions on earth, she incorporates social science methods to examine how institutions — particularly those governing land use and built infrastructure — influence the flow of water and sediment in coastal areas. She integrates quantitative and qualitative approaches in her work, such as direct measurement and geochemical fingerprinting of sediment transport phenomena, agent-based modeling, institutional and geospatial analyses, and ethnographic survey techniques. Risk holder collaboration is an integral part of her research philosophy and she is committed to co-production and capacity building in her projects. Her work has gained recognition from policy influencers such as the World Bank, USAID, and the US Embassy Bangladesh and has been featured in popular media outlets such as Slate and Environmental Health Perspectives.

Klaus G. Troitzsch Member since: Wednesday, December 12, 2018 Full Member

Klaus G. Troitzsch was a full professor of computer applications in the social sciences at the University of Koblenz-Landau since 1986 until he officially retired in 2012 (but continues his academic activities). He took his first degree as a political scientist. After eight years in active politics in Hamburg and after having taken his PhD, he returned to academia, first as a senior researcher in an election research project at the University of Koblenz-Landau, from 1986 as full professor of computer applications in the social sciences. His main interests in teaching and research are social science methodology and, especially, modelling and simulation in the social sciences.
Among his early research projects there is the MIMOSE project which developed a declarative functional simulation language and tool for micro and multilevel simulation between 1986 and 1992. Several EU funded projects were devoted to social simulation and policy modelling, the most recent from 2012 to 2015 combining data/text mining and agent-based simulation to analyse the global dynamics of extortion racket systems.
He authored, co-authored, and co-edited several books and many articles in social simulation, and he organised or co-organised a number of national and international conferences in this field. Over nearly three decades he advised and/or supervised more than 55 PhD theses, most of them in the field of social simulation. He offered annual summer and spring courses in social simulation between 1997 and 2009; more recent courses of this kind are now being organised by the European Social Simulation Assiciation and held at different places all over Europe (mostly with his contributions).

Computational social science, structuralist theory reconstruction

Sedar Olmez Member since: Wednesday, November 06, 2019 Full Member

MSci in Computer Science, MSc in Data Analytics and Society

Sedar is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, department of Geography. He graduated in Computer Science at King’s College London 2018. From a very early stage of his degree, he focused on artificial intelligence planning implementations on drones in a search and rescue domain, and this was his first formal attempt to study artificial intelligence. He participated in summer school at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul working on programming techniques to reduce execution time. During his final year, he concentrated on how argumentation theory with natural language processing can be used to optimise political influence. In the midst of completing his degree, he applied to Professor Alison Heppenstall’s research proposal focusing on data analytics and society, a joint endeavour with the Alan Turing Institute and the Economic and Social Research Council. From 2018 - 2023 he will be working on his PhD at the Alan Turing Institute and Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Sedar will be focusing on data analytics and smart cities, developing a programming library to try simulate how policies can impact a small world of autonomous intelligent agents to try deduce positive or negative impact in the long run. If the impact is positive and this is conveyed collectively taking into consideration the agent’s health, happiness and other social characteristics then the policy can be considered. Furthermore, he will work on agent based modelling to solve and provide faster solutions to economic and social elements of society, establishing applied and theoretical answers. Some other interests are:

  • Multi-agent systems
  • Intelligent agents
  • Natural language processing
  • Artificial intelligence planning
  • Machine learning
  • Neural networks
  • Genetic programming
  • Geocomputation
  • Argumentation theory
  • Smart cities

Steve Peck Member since: Friday, April 24, 2020 Full Member

Biographical Sketch

(a) Professional Preparation

Brigham Young University Statistics & Computer Science B.S. 1986
University of North Carolina Chapel Hill Biostatistics M.S. 1988
North Carolina State University Biomathematics & Entomology Ph.D. 1997

(b) Appointments

Associate Professor 2006-current: Brigham Young University Department of Biology
Assistant Professor 2000-2006: Brigham Young University Department of Integrative Biology
Research Scientist 1997-1999: Agriculture Research Service-USDA Pacific Basin Agricultural Research Center.

(c) Publications

i. Five most relevant publications

Ahmadou H. Dicko, Renaud Lancelot, Momar Talla Seck, Laure Guerrini, Baba Sall, Mbargou Low, Marc J.B. Vreysen, Thierry Lefrançois, Fonta Williams, Steven L. Peck, and Jérémy Bouyer. 2014. Using species distribution models to optimize vector control: the tsetse eradication campaign in Senegal. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science. 11 (28) : 10149-10154
Peck, S. L. 2014. Perspectives on why digital ecologies matter: Combining population genetics and ecologically informed agent-based models with GIS for managing dipteran livestock pests. Acta Tropica. 138S (2014) S22–S25
Peck, S. L. and Jérémy Bouyer. 2012. Mathematical modeling, spatial complexity, and critical decisions in tsetse control. Journal of Economic Entomology 105(5): 1477—1486.
Peck, S. L. 2012. Networks of habitat patches in tsetse fly control: implications of metapopulation structure on assessing local extinction probabilities. Ecological Modelling 246: 99–102.
Peck, S. L. 2012. Agent-based models as fictive instantiations of ecological processes.” Philosophy & Theory in Biology. Vol. 4.e303 (2012): 12

ii. Five other publications of note

Peck, S. L. 2008. The Hermeneutics of Ecological Simulation. Biology and Philosophy 23:383-402.
K.M. Froerer, S.L. Peck, G.T. McQuate, R.I. Vargas, E.B. Jang, and D.O. McInnis. 2010. Long distance movement of Bactrocera dorsalis (Diptera: Tephritidae) in Puna, Hawaii: How far can they go? American Entomologist 56(2): 88-94
Peck, S. L. 2004. Simulation as experiment: a philosophical reassessment for biological modeling. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 19 (10): 530 534
Storer N.P., S. L. Peck, F. Gould, J. W. Van Duyn and G. G. Kennedy. 2003 Sensitivity analysis of a spatially-explicit stochastic simulation model of the evolution of resistance in Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) to Bt transgenic corn and cotton. Economic Entomology. 96(1): 173-187
Peck, S. L., F. Gould, and S. Ellner. 1999. The spread of resistance in spatially extended systems of transgenic cotton: Implications for the management of Heliothis virescens (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Economic Entomology 92:1-16.

Francesc Bellaubi Member since: Thursday, June 27, 2013

PhD candidate

performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.

This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).

Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.

The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.

To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.

In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.

The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.

Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation

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