PhD student in the Agent Systems Research Group of the Department of Artificial Intelligence at the VU University Amsterdam. Current research focuses on Modeling Human Behavior and exploring Serious Games interactions with humans.
I am a full stack software engineer that has been building cyberinfrastructure for computational social science at Arizona State University since 2006; projects include the Digital Archaeological Record, the Virtual Commons, the Social Ecological Systems Library, Synthesizing Knowledge of Past Environments (SKOPE) and CoMSES Net, where I serve as co-director and technical lead.
I’m also a Software / Data Carpentries certified instructor and maintainer for the Python Novice Gapminder lesson, and member of the Force 11 Software Citation Implementation Working Group.
My research interests include collective action, social ecological systems, large-scale software systems engineering, model componentization and coupling, and finding effective ways to promote and facilitate good software engineering practices for reusable, reproducible, and interoperable scientific computation.
Methods and Tools for the Microsimulation and Forecasting of Household Expenditure
Dissertation: Narrative Generation for Agent-Based Models
Abstract: This dissertation proposes a four-level framework for thinking about having agent-based models (ABM) generate narrative describing their behavior, and then provides examples of models that generate narrative at each of those levels. In addition, “interesting” agents are identified in order to direct the attention of researchers to the narratives most likely to be worth spending their time reviewing. The focus is on developing techniques for generating narrative based on agent actions and behavior, on techniques for generating narrative describing aggregate model behavior, and on techniques for identifying “interesting” agents. Examples of each of these techniques are provided in two different ABMs, Zero-Intelligence Traders (Gode & Sunder, 1993, 1997) and Sugarscape (Epstein & Axtell, 1996).
I am a data scientist employing a variety of ecoinformatic tools to understand and improve the sustainability of complex social-ecological systems. I am also working to apply Science and Technology Studies to my modeling processes in order to make social-ecological system management more just. I prefer to work collaboratively with communities on modeling, both teaching mapping and modeling skills as well as analyzing and synthesizing community-held data as appropriate. At the same time, I look for ways to create space for qualitative and other forms of knowledge to reside alongside quantitative analysis. Recent projects include: 1) studying Californian forest dynamics using Bayesian statistical models and object-based image analysis (datasets included forest inventories and historical aerial photographs); 2) indigenous mapping and community-based modeling of agro-pastoral systems in rural Zimbabwe (methods included GPS/GIS, agent-based modeling and social network analysis).
ABM researches on the theory of social systems. For example, the formation of a community, the origin of politics, nation, and state.
I am strongly interested in ecological modeling and complex system and truly enjoyed working with a variety of tools to uncover patterns in empirical data and explore their ecological and evolutionary consequences. My primary research is to conduct research in the field of ‘ecological complexity’, including the development of appropriate descriptive measure to quantify the structural, spatial and temporal complexity of ecosystem and the identification of the mechanism that generate this complexity, through modeling and field studies.
Currently investigated is how biological characteristics of invasive species (dispersal strategies and demographic processes) interact with abiotic variables and resource distribution to determine establishment success and spread in a complex heterogeneous environment (Individual based modelling integrated with GIS technologies).
performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.
This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).
Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.
The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.
To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.
In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.
The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.
Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation
Becky is a Research Associate at the Imperial Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT). She investigates economic, social and technical aspects of energy policy in the UK and abroad.
Becky’s current research is focussed on transitions in the UK bioenergy system and on biofuels for aviation. She is involved with two major projects: Bioenergy Value Chains: Whole Systems Analysis and Optimisation, an EPSRC SUPERGEN Bioenergy Challenge Project; and Renewable Jet Fuel Supply Chain Development and Flight Operations (RENJET), a project for EIT Climate-KIC. Becky has also worked on projects for the UK Energy Research Centre – International Renewable Energy Agency (UKERC-IRENA) collaboration, investigating issues such as economic value creation, policy evaluation metrics, innovation theory and rural electrification. She is particularly interested in the role of renewable technologies for developing countries, having lived and worked in Mali and Senegal.