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.
Ecology - Natural Resources Management (Community-based management)
I worked on natural resources management modelling in STELLA. I developed a technical and scientific model to analyze soil, climate and biological conditions to explain how Bamboo ecosystem works and how people in Cundinamarca, Colombia could focus on a sustainable model for use and manage forestry resources.
Also, I worked on the seventh framework program named: Community-based management of Environmental Challenges in Latin America -COMET-LA-. The project built a learning arena with scientists, civil society and government to identify sustainable models for governance of natural resources in social-ecological systems located in a rural context from Colombia, México and Argentina.
I am interesting in research on Modelling of governance and Community-based management of natural resources.
In my research I focus on understanding human behaviour in group(s) as a part of a complex (social) system. My research can be characterised by the overall question: ‘How does group or collective behaviour arise or change given its social and physical context?‘ More specifically, I have engaged with: ‘How is (individual) human behaviour affected by being in a crowd?’, ‘Why do some groups (cooperatively) use their resources sustainably, whereas others do not?‘, ‘What is the role of (often implicit simplistic) assumptions regarding human behaviour for science and/or management?’
To address these questions, I use computational simulations to integrate and reflect synthesised knowledge from literature, empirics and experts. Models, simulation and data analysis are my tools for gaining a deeper understanding of the mechanisms underlying such systems. More specifically, I work with agent-based modelling (ABM), simulation experiments and data analysis of large datasets. Apart from crowd modelling and social-ecological modelling, I also develop methodological tools to analyse social simulation data and combining ABM with other methods, such as behavioural experiments.
My interests is always on the dynamic interactions of human and their habitat (nature/built environment, etc.). At the moment my researches focus on the political-ecology analysis of human-nature interactions and social-ecological systems analysis. I am interested in using Agent-Based Model to support my works. I have been using ABM for quite some years, although not putting too much focus on it at the moment.
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).
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.
Primate evolutionary biologist and geneticist at the University of Texas at Austin
I conduct long-term behavioral and ecological field research on several species in the primate community of Amazonian Ecuador to investigate the ways in which ecological conditions (such as the abundance and distribution of food resources) and the strategies of conspecifics together shape primate behavior and social relationships and ultimately determine the kinds of societies we see primates living in. This is a crucial and central focus in evolutionary anthropology, as understanding the ways in which behavior and social systems are shaped by environmental pressures is a fundamental part of the discipline.
I complement my field studies with molecular genetic laboratory work and agent-based simulation modeling in order to address issues that are typically difficult to explore through observational studies alone, including questions about dispersal behavior, gene flow, mating patterns, population structure, and the fitness consequences of individual behavior. In collaboration with colleagues, I have also started using molecular techniques to investigate a number of broader questions concerning the evolutionary history, social systems, and ecological roles of various New World primates.
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.
I am currently head of the Junior Research Group POLISES which uses agent-based models to study intended and unintended effects of global policy instruments on the social-ecological resilience of smallholders. In this project, we focus on the impact of policies targeting climate risk in two common property regimes of pastoralists in Africa (Morocco and Kenya/Ethiopia).
On a conceptual level, I work in an international team of modellers, psychologists and natural scientists on adequate representations of human behaviour in agent-based models. Furthermore, I am interested in how to describe models in an appropriate and standardised manner to increase their comprehensibility and comparison.