My research uses modeling to understand complex coupled human and natural systems, and can be generally described as computational social science. I am especially interested in modeling water management systems, in both archaeological and contemporary contexts. I have previously developed a framework for modeling general archaeological complex systems, and applied this to the specific case of the Hohokam in southern Arizona. I am currently engaged in research in data mining to understand contemporary water management strategies in the U.S. southwest and in several locations in Alaska. I am also a developer for the Repast HPC toolkit, an agent-based modeling toolkit specifically for high-performance computing platforms, and maintain an interest in the philosophy of science underlying our use of models as a means to approach complex systems. I am currently serving as Communications Officer for the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas.
I use Agent-Based Models to understand contemporary fertility decision making in below-replacement fertility contexts.
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.
Kenneth D. Aiello is a postdoctoral research scholar with the Global BioSocial Complexity Initiative at ASU. Kenneth’s research contributes to cross disciplinary conversations on how historical developments in biological, social, and cultural knowledge systems are governed by processes that transform the structure, dynamics, and function of complex systems. Applying computational historical analysis and epistemology to question what scientific knowledge is and how we can analyze changes in knowledge, he uses text analysis, social network analysis, and machine learning to measure similarities and differences between the knowledge claims of individual agents and groups. His work builds on how to assess contested knowledge claims and measure the evolution of knowledge across complex systems and multiple dimensions of scale. This approach also engages in dynamic new debates about global and local structures of knowledge shaped by technological innovation within microbiology related to public policy, shrinking resources given to biomedical ideas as opposed to “translation”, and the ethics of scientific discovery. Using interdisciplinary methods for understanding historical content and context rich narratives contributes to understanding new domains and major transitions in science and provides a richer understanding of how knowledge emerges.
Computational Modeling of knowledge diffusion in organizational contexts.
I studied Mathematics at Oxford (1979-1983) then did youth work in inner city areas for the Educational Charity. After teaching in Grenada in the West Indies we came back to the UK, where the first job I could get was in a 6th form college (ages 16-18). They sent me to do post16 PCGE, which was so boring that I also started a part-time PhD. The PhD was started in 1992 and was on the meaning and definition of the idea of “complexity”, which I had been pondering for a few years. Given the growth of the field of complexity from that time, I had great fun reading almost anything in the library but I did finally finish it in 1999. Fortunately I got a job at the Centre for Policy Modelling (CfPM) in 1994 with its founder and direction, Scott Moss. We were doing agent-based social simulation then, but did not know it was called this and did not meet other such simulators for a few years. With Scott Moss we built the CfPM into one of the leading research centres in agent-based social simulation in the world. I became director of the CfPM just before Scott retired, and later became Professor of Social Simulation in 2013. For more about me see http://bruce.edmonds.name or http://cfpm.org.
All aspects of social simulation including: techniques, tools, applications, philosophy, methodology and interesting examples. Understanding complex social systems. Context-dependency and how it affects interaction and cognition. Complexity and how this impacts upon simulation modelling. Social aspects of cognition - or to put it another way - the social embedding of intelligence. Simulating how science works. Integrating qualitative evidence better into ABMs. And everything else.
To tackle the scientific challenges proposed by landscape dynamics and cooperation processes, I have developed a research methodology based on field work and companion modelling (ComMod) combined with the formalisation of the observed processes and agents based models.
This approach offers the possibility to understand : spatial, social, cultural and / or economic conditions that take place on territories, and to provide prospective scenarios.
These methods have been applied in various contexts: steep slope vineyards landscapes (2011), water resource management cooperation (2015), vegetation cover in dry climate (2017). The established research networks are still active through sustained collaborations and activities.
My technical expertise grew and evolved through investment in several workgroups: MAPS Team (Modelling Applied to Space Phenomena), OSGeo (president of the OSGeo’s French chapter between 2013 and 2016, member of the OSGeo-international chapter since 2015), various initiatives around modelling, exploration and sensibility analysis of spatial patterns behaviours, and more generally in Free Software communities.
I am interested in the socio-environmental conditions for the emergence of cooperation and mutual aid in social systems and mainly with regard to renewable resources. I consider in this context that Commons are a spatial manifestation of mutual aid.
From a technical point of view, I am very interested in the questions of model exploration (HPC), which led me to integrate the OpenMole community and to contribute to discussions about heuristic exploration.
Modeling land use change from smallholder agricultural intensification
Agricultural expansion in the rural tropics brings much needed economic and social development in developing countries. On the other hand, agricultural development can result in the clearing of biologically-diverse and carbon-rich forests. To achieve both development and conservation objectives, many government policies and initiatives support agricultural intensification, especially in smallholdings, as a way to increase crop production without expanding farmlands. However, little is understood regarding how different smallholders might respond to such investments for yield intensification. It is also unclear what factors might influence a smallholder’s land-use decision making process. In this proposed research, I will use a bottom-up approach to evaluate whether investments in yield intensification for smallholder farmers would really translate to sustainable land use in Indonesia. I will do so by combining socioeconomic and GIS data in an agent-based model (Land-Use Dynamic Simulator multi-agent simulation model). The outputs of my research will provide decision makers with new and contextualized information to assist them in designing agricultural policies to suit varying socioeconomic, geographic and environmental contexts.
IRPact - An integrated agent based modeling approach in innovation diffusion
Goal: The goal of IRPact is to develop a flexible and generic innovation-diffusion ABM (agent-based modelling) framework, based on requirements derived from a literature analysis. The aim of IRPact is to allow for modeling a large number of application contexts and questions of interest.
It provides a formal model (framework) as well as a software implementation in order to assist modelers with a basic infrastructure for their own research.
Conceptually it is thought to be part of the IRPsim (https://irpsim.uni-leipzig.de), with the vision to bring together rational approaches and cognitive modeling in an integrated approach within the context of sustainable energy markets.