Agent Based Modelling for spatial systems
Professor, School of Human Evolution & Social Change
Professor, School of Complex Adaptive Systems
Affiliate Professor, School of Earth and Space Exploration
Arizona State University
My interests center around long-term human ecology and landscape dynamics with ongoing projects in the Mediterranean (late Pleistocene through mid-Holocene) and recent work in the American Southwest (Holocene-Archaic). I’ve done fieldwork in Spain, Bosnia, and various locales in North America and have expertise in hunter/gatherer and early farming societies, geoarchaeology, lithic technology, and evolutionary theory, with an emphasis on human/environmental interaction, landscape dynamics, and techno-economic change.
Quantitative methods are critical to archaeological research, and socioecological sciences in general. They are an important focus of my research, especially emphasizing dynamic modeling, spatial technologies (including GIS and remote sensing), statistical analysis, and visualization. I am a member of the open source GRASS GIS international development team that is making cutting edge spatial technologies available to researchers and students around the world.
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.
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.
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).
Gary Polhill did a degree in Artificial Intelligence and a PhD in Neural Networks before spending 18 months in industry as a professional programmer. Since 1997 he has been working at the Institute on agent-based modelling of human-natural systems, and has worked on various international and interdisciplinary projects using agent-based modelling to study agricultural systems, lifestyles, and transitions to more sustainable ways of living. In 2016, he was elected President of the European Social Simulation Association, and was The James Hutton Institute’s 2017 Science Challenge Leader on Developing Technical and Social Innovations that Support Sustainable and Resilient Communities.