My main interests are system dynamics and multi agent simulation used for support of business and marketing decisions (e.g. modeling of consumer markets) and in business education (e.g. development of open source business simulators). Amongst my other interests are applied marketing research, relationships between academia and industry, financial literacy, mind and concept mapping.
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.
I am a Professor in the School of Sustainability and the Director of the Center for Behavior, Institutions and the Environment. I want to understand how people solve collective problems at different levels of scale, especially those problems related to sustainability of our environment. Our society experience unprecedented challenged to sustain common resource for future generations at a scale we have never experienced before. What makes groups cooperate? What is the role of information? How does the ecological context affect the social fabric? How do they deal with a changing environment? How can we use these insight to address global challenges? To do this research I combine behavioral experiments, agent-based modeling and case study analysis.