The Global Resource Observatory (GRO)
The Global Resource Observatory is largest single research project being undertaken at the GSI, it investigates how the scarcity of finite resources will impact global social and political fragility in the short term. The ambitious three year project, funded by the Dawe Charitable Trust, will enable short term decision making to account for ecological and financial constraints of a finite planet.
GRO will include an open source multidimensional model able to quantify the likely short term interactions of the human economy with the carrying capacity of the planet and key scarce resources. The model will enable exploration of the complex interconnections between the resource availability and human development, and provides projections over the next 5 years.
Data and scenarios will be geographically mapped to show the current and future balance and distribution of resources across and within countries. The GRO tool will, for the first time, enable the widespread integration of the implications of depleting key resource into all levels of policy and business decision-making.
My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
My research is about modelling and simulation of complex systems. My work is to use, and participate to the development of, integrative tools at the formal level (based on the Discrete EVent System Specification (DEVS) formalism), at the conceptual level (based on integrative paradigm such as Multi-Agents Systems paradigm (MAS) or viability theory), and at the level of the use of modelling and simulation for collective decision making (based on the Companion Modelling approach (ComMod)). My recent object of studies where multi-scale social and ecological systems, applied to water resource management and adaptation of territories to global change.
My research focuses on building a systemic understanding of coupled human-natural systems. In particular, I am interested in understanding how patterns of land-use and land-cover change emerge from human alterations of natural processes and the resulting feedbacks. Study systems of interest include those undergoing agricultural to urban conversion, typically known as urban sprawl, and those in which protective measures, such as wildfire suppression or flood/storm impact controls, can lead to long-term instability.
Dynamic agent- and process-based simulation models are my primary tools for studying human and natural systems, respectively. My past work includes the creation of dynamic, process-based simulation models of the wildland fires along the urban-wildland interface (UWI), and artificial dune construction to protect coastal development along a barrier island coastline. My current research involves the testing, refinement, extension of an economic agent-based model of coupled housing and land markets (CHALMS), and a new project developing a generalized agent-based model of land-use change to explore local human-environmental interactions globally.
I am Colombian with passion for social impact. I believe that change starts at the individual, community, local and then global level. I have set my goal in making a better experience to whatever challenges I encounter and monetary systems and governance models is what concerns me at the time.
In my path to understanding and reflecting about these issues I have found my way through what I call: “Conscious Modeling”. Models are just “bad” abstractions of reality and is part of our job as researchers to dig in the stories behind our models and learn to engage in a dialogue between both worlds.
Technology empowers us to act locally, autonomously and in decentralized ways and my research objective is to, in a global context, find ways to govern, communicate and scale the impact of new monetary models. This with a special focus on achieving the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals.
As a Ph.D. fellow for the Agenda 2030 Graduate School, I expect to identify challenges and conflicting elements in the sustainability agenda, contribute with new perspectives, and create solutions for the challenges ahead
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.
Two themes unite my research: a commitment to methodological creativity and innovation as expressed in my work with computational social sciences, and an interest in the political economy of “globalization,” particularly its implications for the ontological claims of international relations theory.
I have demonstrated how the methods of computational social sciences can model bargaining and social choice problems for which traditional game theory has found only indeterminate and multiple equilibria. My June 2008 article in International Studies Quarterly (“Coordination in Large Numbers,” vol. 52, no. 2) illustrates that, contrary to the expectation of collective action theory, large groups may enjoy informational advantages that allow players with incomplete information to solve difficult three-choice coordination games. I extend this analysis in my 2009 paper at the International Studies Association annual convention, in which I apply ideas from evolutionary game theory to model learning processes among players faced with coordination and commitment problems. Currently I am extending this research to include social network theory as a means of modeling explicitly the patterns of interaction in large-n (i.e. greater than two) player coordination and cooperation games. I argue in my paper at the 2009 American Political Science Association annual convention that computational social science—the synthesis of agent-based modeling, social network analysis and evolutionary game theory—empowers scholars to analyze a broad range of previously indeterminate bargaining problems. I also argue this synthesis gives researchers purchase on two of the central debates in international political economy scholarship. By modeling explicitly processes of preference formation, computational social science moves beyond the rational actor model and endogenizes the processes of learning that constructivists have identified as essential to understanding change in the international system. This focus on the micro foundations of international political economy in turn allows researchers to understand how social structural features emerge and constrain actor choices. Computational social science thus allows IPE to formalize and generalize our understandings of mutual constitution and systemic change, an observation that explains the paradoxical interest of constructivists like Ian Lustick and Matthew Hoffmann in the formal methods of computational social science. Currently I am writing a manuscript that develops these ideas and applies them to several challenges of globalization: developing institutions to manage common pool resources; reforming capital adequacy standards for banks; and understanding cascading failures in global networks.
While computational social science increasingly informs my research, I have also contributed to debates about the epistemological claims of computational social science. My chapter with James N. Rosenau in Complexity in World Politics (ed. by Neil E. Harrison, SUNY Press 2006) argues that agent-based modeling suffers from underdeveloped and hidden epistemological and ontological commitments. On a more light-hearted note, my article in PS: Political Science and Politics (“Clocks, Not Dartboards,” vol. 39, no. 3, July 2006) discusses problems with pseudo-random number generators and illustrates how they can surprise unsuspecting teachers and researchers.
Kenneth D. Aiello is a postdoctoral research scholar with the Global BioSocial Complexity Initiative at ASU. Kenneth’s research contributes to cross disciplinary conversations on how historical developments in biological, social, and cultural knowledge systems are governed by processes that transform the structure, dynamics, and function of complex systems. Applying computational historical analysis and epistemology to question what scientific knowledge is and how we can analyze changes in knowledge, he uses text analysis, social network analysis, and machine learning to measure similarities and differences between the knowledge claims of individual agents and groups. His work builds on how to assess contested knowledge claims and measure the evolution of knowledge across complex systems and multiple dimensions of scale. This approach also engages in dynamic new debates about global and local structures of knowledge shaped by technological innovation within microbiology related to public policy, shrinking resources given to biomedical ideas as opposed to “translation”, and the ethics of scientific discovery. Using interdisciplinary methods for understanding historical content and context rich narratives contributes to understanding new domains and major transitions in science and provides a richer understanding of how knowledge emerges.