PhD student at University of Toronto: memes, social networks, contagion, agent based modeling, synthetic populations
My current interests include: agent-based modeling, simulating social complexity, land use, dynamic networks, social and cultural anthropology, HIV transmission dynamics, socio-political conflicts and social movements
Agent Based Modeling (ABM), Agent Based Social System (ABSS), Multi-Agent Systems (MAS), Bayesian learning, Social networks Analysis (SNA), Socio ecological Dynamics.
Archaeological Simulation of Social Interactions, mainly between hunter gatherers societies.
Mainly interested in studying social networks of learners, teachers, and innovators. Uses Social Network Analysis, but also sentiment analysis, data mining, and recommender system techniques.
Social network analysis has an especially long tradition in the social science. In recent years, a dramatically increased visibility of SNA, however, is owed to statistical physicists. Among many, Barabasi-Albert model (BA model) has attracted particular attention because of its mathematical properties (i.e., obeying power-law distribution) and its appearance in a diverse range of social phenomena. BA model assumes that nodes with more links (i.e., “popular nodes”) are more likely to be connected when new nodes entered a system. However, significant deviations from BA model have been reported in many social networks. Although numerous variants of BA model are developed, they still share the key assumption that nodes with more links were more likely to be connected. I think this line of research is problematic since it assumes all nodes possess the same preference and overlooks the potential impacts of agent heterogeneity on network formation. When joining a real social network, people are not only driven by instrumental calculation of connecting with the popular, but also motivated by intrinsic affection of joining the like. The impact of this mixed preferential attachment is particularly consequential on formation of social networks. I propose an integrative agent-based model of heterogeneous attachment encompassing both instrumental calculation and intrinsic similarity. Particularly, it emphasizes the way in which agent heterogeneity affects social network formation. This integrative approach can strongly advance our understanding about the formation of various networks.
My profound interest in networks convinced me to work in these subjects and start my master project on an application of social network analysis for detecting organized fraud in Automobile insurance, which helps to flag groups of fraudsters. The key point of this project is simply to find fraudulent rings, while the most of traditional methods have only taken opportunistic fraud into consideration. My duty in research is to design an algorithm for identifying cyclic components, then to be compared with theoretical ones. This project showed me how networks are used in the analysis of relations.
Annie Waldherr is a postdoctoral researcher at the Free University of Berlin, Institute for Media and Communication Studies. In 2012, she received her PhD for her dissertation on the dynamics of media attention. Her research interests include modeling public spheres, political online communication as well as science and technology discourses.
Gary Polhill did a degree in Artificial Intelligence and a PhD in Neural Networks before spending 18 months in industry as a professional programmer. Since 1997 he has been working at the Institute on agent-based modelling of human-natural systems, and has worked on various international and interdisciplinary projects using agent-based modelling to study agricultural systems, lifestyles, and transitions to more sustainable ways of living. In 2016, he was elected President of the European Social Simulation Association, and was The James Hutton Institute’s 2017 Science Challenge Leader on Developing Technical and Social Innovations that Support Sustainable and Resilient Communities.