I obtained a PhD in database information theory from the University of the West of Scotland in 2015, and have been a researcher at the James Hutton Institute ever since. My areas of research are agent-based-modelling (ABM), data curation, effective use of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and semantic information representation and extraction using formal structures such as computerised ontologies, relational databases and any other structured or semi-structured data representations. I primarily deal with social and agricultural models and was originally taken on in the role of knowledge engineer in order to create the ontology for the H2020 project, Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Regional Sustainability (GLAMURS). Subsequent work, for the Scottish Government has involved the use of IaaS, more commonly referred to as the “cloud” to create rapidly deployable and cheap alternatives to in-house high-performance computing for both ABM and Geographical Information System models.
It is the mixture of skills and interests involving modelling, data organisation and computing infrastructure expertise that I believe will be highly apposite in the duties associated with being a member of the CoMSES executive. Moreover, prior to joining academia, I spent about 25 years as a developer in commercial IT, in the agricultural, entertainment and banking sectors, and feel that such practical experience can only benefit the CoMSES network.
Research focuses on the coupled dynamics of human and natural systems, specifically in the context of forest dynamics. I utilize a variety of modeling and analysis techniques, including agent-based modeling, cellular automata, machine learning and various spatial statistics and GIS-related methods. I am currently involved in projects that investigate the anthropogenic and biological drivers behind native and invasive forest pathogens and insects.
One of my research areas is agent-based modelling of land change in Brazil. I have worked with ABM in frontier areas of the Brazilian Amazon. I am also part of the team that develops TerraME, an OSS toolkit for ABM in cellular spaces.
My interests are focused on the development of new methodologies capable of exploring the complex relations between time, space and human behavior. Simulation, game theory and spatial analysis are some of the techniques that I use to explore different research questions, from the relation between environment and culture to the evolution of warfare.
I’m also the project manager of Pandora, an open-source ABM platform specifically designed for executing large scale simulations in High-Performance Computing environments.
are related to interoperability and conflation models in geospatial analysis and integrated modelling applications, particularly in the context of spatial data infrastructures such as GEOSS. This translates to a focus on geospatial statistics, geospatial patterns, outbreak detection and geospatial data mining in general, but also to data quality and uncertainty propagation principles in relation to geoworkflows connected to/using web services. Didier’s research centres on environmental agro-ecological geospatial models, and public health and spatial epidemiology applications. (see website)
Development of spatial agent-based models to sustainability science and ecosystem service assessment, integration of agent-based model with biophysical process based model, improvement of theory of GIScience and land use change science, development of spatial analytical approach (all varieties of spatial regression), spatial data modeling including data mining, linking processes such as climate change, market, and policy to study patterns.
I am a spatial (GIS) agent-based modeler i.e. modeler that simulates the impact of various individual decisions on the environment. My work is mainly methodological i.e. I develop tools that make agent-based modeling (ABM) easier to do. I especially focus on developing tools that allow for evaluating various uncertainties in ABM. One of these uncertainties are the ways of quantifying agent decisions (i.e. the algorithmic representation of agent decision rules) for example to address the question of “How do the agents decide whether to grow crops or rather put land to fallow?”. One of the methods I developed focuses on representing residential developers’ risk perception for example to answer the question: “to what extent is the developer risk-taking and would be willing to build new houses targeted at high-income families (small market but big return on investment)?”. Other ABM uncertainties that I evaluate are various spatial inputs (e.g. different representations of soil erosion, different maps of environmental benefits from land conservation) and various demographics (i.e. are retired farmers more willing to put land to conservation?). The tools I develop are mostly used in (spatial) sensitivity analysis of ABM (quantitative, qualitative, and visual).
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.