My primary research interests lie at the intersection of two fields: evolutionary computation and multi-agent systems. I am specifically interested in how evolutionary search algorithms can be used to help people understand and analyze agent-based models of complex systems (e.g., flocking birds, traffic jams, or how information diffuses across social networks). My secondary research interests broadly span the areas of artificial life, multi-agent robotics, cognitive/learning science, design of multi-agent modeling environments. I enjoy interdisciplinary research, and in pursuit of the aforementioned topics, I have been involved in application areas from archeology to zoology, from linguistics to marketing, and from urban growth patterns to materials science. I am also very interested in creative approaches to computer science and complex systems education, and have published work on the use of multi-agent simulation as a vehicle for introducing students to computer science.
It is my philosophy that theoretical research should be inspired by real-world problems, and conversely, that theoretical results should inform and enhance practice in the field. Accordingly, I view tool building as a vital practice that is complementary to theoretical and methodological research. Throughout my own work I have contributed to the research community by developing several practical software tools, including BehaviorSearch (http://www.behaviorsearch.org/)
Volker Grimm currently works at the Department of Ecological Modelling, Helmholtz-Zentrum für Umweltforschung. Volker does research in ecology and biodiversity research.
How to model it: Ecological models, in particular simulation models, often seem to be formulated ad hoc and only poorly analysed. I am therefore interested in strategies and methods for making ecological modelling more coherent and efficient. The ultimate aim is to develop preditive models that provide mechanstic understanding of ecological systems and that are transparent and structurally realistic enough to support environmental decision making.
Pattern-oriented modelling: This is a general strategy of using multiple patterns observed in real systems as multiple criteria for chosing model structure, selecting among alternative submodels, and inversely determining entire sets of unknown model parameters.
Individual-based and agent-based modelling: For many, if not most, ecological questions individual-level aspects can be decisive for explaining system-level behavior. IBM/ABMs allow to represent individual heterogeneity, local interactions, and/or adaptive behaviour
Ecological theory and concepts: I am particularly interested in exploring stability properties like resilience and persistence.
Modelling for ecological applications: Pattern-oriented modelling allows to develop structurally realistic models, which can be used to support decision making and the management of biodiversity and natural resources. Currently, I am involved in the EU project CREAM, where a suite of population models is developed for pesticide risk assessment.
Standards for model communication and formulation: In 2006, we published a general protocol for describing individual- and agent-based models, called the ODD protocol (Overview, Design concepts, details). ODD turned out to be more useful (and needed) than we expected.
After completing my undergraduate education at Bilkent University (Turkey), I continued my studies at the University of Cambridge, receiving first my MPhil and then my PhD in Assyriology/Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology, funded by a Chevening Open Society Scholarship and the Board of Higher Education of Turkey. After teaching for several years at Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University, I moved to eastern Turkey to start the Archaeology Department of Bitlis Eren University, and I was the Head of Department until the end of 2018. I have been a visiting researcher at the American Center of Oriental Research in Amman in 2011 (Mellink Fellowship), at the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago in 2014 (Fulbright Fellowship), and at the Department of Archaeology and Ancient History of Uppsala University in 2019 (Swedish Institute Fellowship). I have also held a Newton Advanced Fellowship here at Leicester in the UK. I have previously co-directed several fieldwork projects: the Cambridge University Kilise Tepe Excavations (southern Turkey, 2009-13), the Cide Archaeological Project (survey, Black Sea coast, 2010-1), the Sirwan Regional Project (survey, northern Iraq, 2012-5), and the Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey Project (survey, southern Turkey, 2013-7). I am currently co-directing the Çadır Höyük excavations, which is a joint American, British, Canadian and Turkish archaeological excavation project conducted in north-central Turkey, and the Taşeli-Karaman Archeological Project, which was initiated in 2018 as a continuation of the Lower Göksu Archaeological Salvage Survey Project, to study the Göksu River Basin in its wider geographical context in the hope of better understanding its role as a network hub connecting the eastern Mediterranean world to the central Anatolian Plateau.
Ifigeneia Koutiva (female) is a senior environmental engineer, holding a PhD in Civil Engineering (NTUA), a Postgrad Diploma in Water Resources and Environmental Management (Un. of Belgrade - e-learning), an MSc in Environmental Technology (Imperial College London) and an MSc in Mining and Metallurgy Engineering (NTUA). Her PhD was funded by the Greek Ministry of Education through Heracleitous II scholarship. She is currently a postdoctoral scholar of the State Scholarship Foundation (IKY) for 2020 - 2021. She has 10 years of experience in various EU funded research projects, both as a researcher and as a project manager, in the fields of socio-technical simulation, urban water modelling, modelling and assessment of alternative water technologies, artificial intelligence, social quantitative research, KPI and water indicators development and assessment and analysis of large data sets. She is very competent with programming for creating ICT tools for agent based modelling and data analysis tools and she is an experienced user of spatial analysis software and tools. She is also actively involved in the design and implementation of numerous consultation workshops and conferences. She has authored more than 20 scientific journal articles, conferences articles and research reports.
My research interests lay within the interface of social, water and modelling sciences. I have created tools that explore the effects of water demand management policies in domestic urban water demand behaviour and the effects of civil decision making in flood risk management. I am interested in agent based modelling, artificial intelligence techniques, the creation of ABM tools for civil society, Circular Economy, distributed water technologies and overall urban water management.
I am a PhD Candidate in the Biological Anthropology program at the University of Minnesota. My research involves using agent-based models combined with field research to test a broad range of hypotheses in biology. I have created a model, B3GET, which simulates the evolution of virtual organisms to better understand the relationships between growth and development, life history and reproductive strategies, mating strategies, foraging strategies, and how ecological factors drive these relationships. I also conduct field research to better model the behavior of these virtual organisms. Here I am pictured with an adult male gelada in Ethiopia!
I specialize in writing agent-based models for both research in and the teaching of subjects including: biology, genetics, evolution, demography, and behavior.
For my dissertation research, I have developed “B3GET,” an agent-based model which simulates populations of virtual organisms evolving over generations, whose evolutionary outcomes reflect the selection pressures of their environment. The model simulates several factors considered important in biology, including life history trade-offs, investment in body size, variation in aggression, sperm competition, infanticide, and competition over access to food and mates. B3GET calculates each agent’s ‘decision-vectors’ from its diploid chromosomes and current environmental context. These decision-vectors dictate movement, body growth, desire to mate and eat, and other agent actions. Chromosomes are modified during recombination and mutation, resulting in behavioral strategies that evolve over generations. Rather than impose model parameters based on a priori assumptions, I have used an experimental evolution procedure to evolve traits that enabled populations to persist. Seeding a succession of populations with the longest surviving genotype from each run resulted in the evolution of populations that persisted indefinitely. I designed B3GET for my dissertation, but it has an indefinite number of applications for other projects in biology. B3GET helps answer fundamental questions in evolutionary biology by offering users a virtual field site to precisely track the evolution of organismal populations. Researchers can use B3GET to: (1) investigate how populations vary in response to ecological pressures; (2) trace evolutionary histories over indefinite time scales and generations; (3) track an individual for every moment of their life from conception to post-mortem decay; and (4) create virtual analogues of living species, including primates like baboons and chimpanzees, to answer species-specific questions. Users are able to save, edit, and import population and genotype files, offering an array of possibilities for creating controlled biological experiments.