One of my research areas is agent-based modelling of land change in Brazil. I have worked with ABM in frontier areas of the Brazilian Amazon. I am also part of the team that develops TerraME, an OSS toolkit for ABM in cellular spaces.
Agent Based Modelling for spatial systems
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.
Development of spatial agent-based models to sustainability science and ecosystem service assessment, integration of agent-based model with biophysical process based model, improvement of theory of GIScience and land use change science, development of spatial analytical approach (all varieties of spatial regression), spatial data modeling including data mining, linking processes such as climate change, market, and policy to study patterns.
Positions held today:
• Associate Professor for Geoinformatics and Ecology at the University of Salzburg (since 2017)
• UNIGIS Program Director (since 2020)
• Head of the Research Group “Spatial Simulation” (since 2013)
Major academic milestones:
• Assistant Professor, Department for Geoinformatics, University of Salzburg (2013-2017)
• Associate Faculty in the FWF Doctoral College “GIScience” (2013-2017)
• Director of Studies UNIGIS MSc distance learning programs, University of Salzburg (2012-2020)
• PhD at the University of Innsbruck on ecological modelling (2011)
• Research Assistant Austrian Academy of Sciences, GIScience Institute (2007-2011)
• Magistra in Ecology, Univ. of Innsbruck (2001) and MSc in GIS, Univ. of Edinburgh (2006)
Spatially-explicit simulation modelling of complex, ecological systems: * the added value of spatially-explicit modelling * Hybrid agent-based and system-dynamics modelling in ecology * Agent-based models, Cellular Automata
Land cover changes spatial agents based modelling
Forest fire risk modelling
Geographical information based modelling
Decision support for land planning
I am a spatial (GIS) agent-based modeler i.e. modeler that simulates the impact of various individual decisions on the environment. My work is mainly methodological i.e. I develop tools that make agent-based modeling (ABM) easier to do. I especially focus on developing tools that allow for evaluating various uncertainties in ABM. One of these uncertainties are the ways of quantifying agent decisions (i.e. the algorithmic representation of agent decision rules) for example to address the question of “How do the agents decide whether to grow crops or rather put land to fallow?”. One of the methods I developed focuses on representing residential developers’ risk perception for example to answer the question: “to what extent is the developer risk-taking and would be willing to build new houses targeted at high-income families (small market but big return on investment)?”. Other ABM uncertainties that I evaluate are various spatial inputs (e.g. different representations of soil erosion, different maps of environmental benefits from land conservation) and various demographics (i.e. are retired farmers more willing to put land to conservation?). The tools I develop are mostly used in (spatial) sensitivity analysis of ABM (quantitative, qualitative, and visual).