Isaac IT Ullah, PhD, (Arizona State University 2013) Dr. Ullah is a computational archaeologist who employs GIS and simulation modeling to understand the long-term dynamics of humans and the Earth System. Dr. Ullah is particularly interested in the social and environmental changes surrounding the advent of farming and animal husbandry. His focus is on Mediterranean and other semi-arid landscapes, and he conducts fieldwork in Jordan, Italy, and Kazakhstan. His field work includes survey for and excavation of early agricultural sites as well as geoarchaeological analyses of anthropogenic landscapes. His specialties include landscape evolution, complex adaptive systems science, computational methods, geospatial analysis, and imagery analysis.
Computational Archaeology, Food Production, Forager-Farmer transition, Neolithic, Agro-pastoralism, Erosion Modeling, Anthropogenic Landscapes, Geoarchaeology, Modeling and Simulation, GIS, Imagery Analysis, ABM, Mediterranean
My broad research interests are in human-environmental interactions and land-use change. Specifically, I am interested in how people make land-use decisions, how those decisions modify the functioning of natural systems, and how those modifications feedback on human well-being, livelihoods, and subsequent land-use decisions. All of my research begins with a complex systems background with the aim of understanding the dynamics of human-environment interactions and their consequences for environmental and economic sustainability. Agent-based modeling is my primary tool of choice to understand human-environment interactions, but I also frequently use other land change modeling approaches (e.g., cellular automata, system dynamics, econometrics), spatial statistics, and GIS. I also have expertise in synthesis methods (e.g., meta-analysis) for bringing together leveraging disparate forms of social and environmental data to understand how specific cases (i.e., local) of land-use change contribute to and/or differ from broader-scale (i.e. regional or global) patterns of human-environment interactions and land change outcomes.
I received my BSc, MSc, and PhD from the University of Nottingham. My PhD focuses on the Agent-Based Modelling and Simulation (ABMS) of Public Goods Game (PGG) in Economics. In my thesis, a development framework was developed using software-engineering methods to provide a structured approach to the development process of agent-based social simulations. Also as a case study, the framework was used to design and implement a simulation of PGG in the continuous-time setting which is rarely considered in Economics.
In 2017, I joined international, inter-disciplinary project CASCADE (Calibrated Agent Simulations for Combined Analysis of Drinking Etiologies) to further pursue my research interest in strategic modelling and simulation of human-centred complex systems. CASCADE, funded by the US National Institutes of Health (NIH), aims to develop agent-based models and systems-based models of the UK and US populations for the sequential and linked purposes of testing theories of alcohol use behaviors, predicting population alcohol use patterns, predicting population-level alcohol outcomes and evaluating the impacts of policy interventions on alcohol use patterns and harmful outcomes.
Community assembly after intervention by coral transplantation
The potential of transplantation of scleractinian corals in restoring degraded reefs has been widely recognized. Levels of success of coral transplantation have been highly variable due to variable environmental conditions and interactions with other reef organisms. The community structure of the area being restored is an emergent outcome of the interaction of its components as well as of processes at the local level. Understanding the
coral reef as a complex adaptive system is essential in understanding how patterns emerge from processes at local scales. Data from a coral transplantation experiment will be used to develop an individual-based model of coral community development. The objectives of the model are to develop an understanding of assembly rules, predict trajectories and discover unknown properties in the development of coral reef communities in the context of reef restoration. Simulation experiments will be conducted to derive insights on community trajectories under different disturbance regimes as well as initial transplantation configurations. The model may also serve as a decision-support tool for reef restoration.
The Global Resource Observatory (GRO)
The Global Resource Observatory is largest single research project being undertaken at the GSI, it investigates how the scarcity of finite resources will impact global social and political fragility in the short term. The ambitious three year project, funded by the Dawe Charitable Trust, will enable short term decision making to account for ecological and financial constraints of a finite planet.
GRO will include an open source multidimensional model able to quantify the likely short term interactions of the human economy with the carrying capacity of the planet and key scarce resources. The model will enable exploration of the complex interconnections between the resource availability and human development, and provides projections over the next 5 years.
Data and scenarios will be geographically mapped to show the current and future balance and distribution of resources across and within countries. The GRO tool will, for the first time, enable the widespread integration of the implications of depleting key resource into all levels of policy and business decision-making.
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.
I am a geographer interested in exploring tourism system dynamics and assessing tourism’s role in environmental sustainability using agent-based modelling (ABM). My current work focus is on human complex systems interactions with the environment and on the application of tools (such as scenario analysis, network analysis and ABM) to explore topics systems adaptation, vulnerability and resilience to global change. I am also interested in looking into my PhD future research directions which pointed the potential of Big Data, social media and Volunteer Geographical Information to increase destination awareness.
I have extensive experience in GIS, quantitative and qualitative methods of research. My master thesis assessed the potential for automatic feature extraction from QuickBird imagery for municipal management purposes. During my PhD I have published and submitted several scientific papers in ISI indexed journals. I have a good research network in Portugal and I integrate an international research network on the topic “ABM meets tourism”. I am a collaborator in a recently awarded USA NCRCRD grant project “Using Agent Based Modelling to Understand and Enhance Rural Tourism Industry Collaboration” and applied for NSF funding with the project “Understanding and Enhancing the Resilience of Recreation and Tourism Dependent Communities in the Gulf”.
Mazaher Kianpour is a PhD candidate at NTNU. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering (Software) from the Payame Noor University. He obtained his Master’s degree in Architecture of Computer Systems from Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, Iran. He started his PhD in Information Security at NTNU in May 2018. His PhD research lies at the intersection of economics and information security with a socio-technical perspective. He has several years of work experience at Tehran University of Medical Sciences, and his professional training includes Computer Networks, Cybersecurity and Risk Management.
My main research interest is modelling of information security, business operations and deterrents in complex ICT ecosystem. I will in particular focus on the complex interaction between various stakeholders and actors in the information security business domain. In order to model and better understand the information security ecosystem, I rely on agent-based simulation and quantitative modelling techniques such as stochastic modelling, discrete event simulations and game theory. Of particular interest is to gain increased understanding on how various security threats and measures influence business operations in the digital ecosystem.
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/)
I obtained a PhD in database information theory from the University of the West of Scotland in 2015, and have been a researcher at the James Hutton Institute ever since. My areas of research are agent-based-modelling (ABM), data curation, effective use of infrastructure as a service (IaaS), and semantic information representation and extraction using formal structures such as computerised ontologies, relational databases and any other structured or semi-structured data representations. I primarily deal with social and agricultural models and was originally taken on in the role of knowledge engineer in order to create the ontology for the H2020 project, Green Lifestyles, Alternative Models and Upscaling Regional Sustainability (GLAMURS). Subsequent work, for the Scottish Government has involved the use of IaaS, more commonly referred to as the “cloud” to create rapidly deployable and cheap alternatives to in-house high-performance computing for both ABM and Geographical Information System models.
It is the mixture of skills and interests involving modelling, data organisation and computing infrastructure expertise that I believe will be highly apposite in the duties associated with being a member of the CoMSES executive. Moreover, prior to joining academia, I spent about 25 years as a developer in commercial IT, in the agricultural, entertainment and banking sectors, and feel that such practical experience can only benefit the CoMSES network.