My core research interest is to understand how humans and other living creature perceive and behave; respond and act upon their environment and how this dynamic interplay shapes us into who we are. In recognition of the broad scope of this question I am a strong believer in the need for inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches and have worked at research groups in a wide range of departments and institutions, including university departments of Physics as well as Psychology, a bio-medical research lab, a robotics research laboratory and most recently the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Though my work has primarily taken the form of computational neuroscience I have also performed psychophysical experiments with healthy human subjects, been involved in neural imaging experiments and contributed towards the development of a humanoid robot.
Based on the philosophy of ‘understanding through creating’ I believe that bio-mimetic and biologically inspired computational and robotic engineering can teach us not only how to build more flexible and robust tools but also how actual living creatures deal with their environment. I am therefore a strong believer in the fertile information exchange between scientific as well as engineering research disciplines.
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.
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.
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.
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.