My research interests include policy informatics and decision making, modeling in policy analysis and management decisions, public health management and policy, and the role of public value in policy development. I am particularly interested in less mainstream approaches to modeling that account for learning, feedback, and other systems dynamics. I include Bayesian inference, agent-based models, and behavioral assumptions in both my research and teaching.
In my dissertation research, I conceptualize state Medicaid programs as complex adaptive systems characterized by diverse actors, behaviors, relationships, and objectives. These systems reproduce themselves through both strategic and emergent mechanisms of program management. I focus on the mechanism by which citizens are sorted into or out of the system: program enrollment. Using Bayesian regression and agent-based models, I explore the role of administrative practices (such as presumptive eligibility and longer continuous eligibility periods) in increasing enrollment of eligible citizens into Medicaid programs.
Becky is a Research Associate at the Imperial Centre for Energy Policy and Technology (ICEPT). She investigates economic, social and technical aspects of energy policy in the UK and abroad.
Becky’s current research is focussed on transitions in the UK bioenergy system and on biofuels for aviation. She is involved with two major projects: Bioenergy Value Chains: Whole Systems Analysis and Optimisation, an EPSRC SUPERGEN Bioenergy Challenge Project; and Renewable Jet Fuel Supply Chain Development and Flight Operations (RENJET), a project for EIT Climate-KIC. Becky has also worked on projects for the UK Energy Research Centre – International Renewable Energy Agency (UKERC-IRENA) collaboration, investigating issues such as economic value creation, policy evaluation metrics, innovation theory and rural electrification. She is particularly interested in the role of renewable technologies for developing countries, having lived and worked in Mali and Senegal.
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.
I received a Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Namur (Belgium) in June 2012 with a thesis titled “Essays in Information Aggregation and Political Economics”.
After two years at the Research Center for Educational and Network Studies (Recens) of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, I joined the Department of Economics “Marco Biagi” of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in January 2015 and then the Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences of the University of Bologna.
I am currently a Lecturer in Financial Computing at the Department Computer Science (Financial Computing and Analytics group) - University College London. Moreover I am an affiliated researcher of the DYNAMETS - Dynamic Systems Analysis for Economic Theory and Society research group and an affiliate member of the Namur Center for Complex Systems (Naxys).
My research interests concern the computational study of financial markets (microstructure, systemic properties and behavioral bias), of social Interactions on complex networks (theory and experiments), the evolution of cooperation in networks (theory and experiments) and the study of companies strategies in the digital economy.
I am a computational archaeologist interested in how individuals and groups respond to both large scale processes such as climate change and local processes such as violence and wealth inequality. I am currently a PhD Candidate in the Department of Anthropology at Washington State University.
My dissertation research focuses on experimenting with paleoecological data (e.g., pollen) to assess whether or not different approaches are feasible for paleoclimatic field reconstructions. In addition, I will also use pollen data to generate vegetation (biome) reconstructions. By using tree-ring and pollen data, we can gain a better understanding of the paleoclimate and the spatial distribution of vegetation communities and how those changed over time. These data can be used to better understand changes in demography and how people responded to environmental change.
In Summer 2019, I attended the Santa Fe Institute‘s Complex Systems Summer School, where I got to work in a highly collaborative and interdisciplinary international scientific community. For one of my projects, I got to merry my love of Sci-fi with complexity and agent-based modeling. Sci-fi agent-based modeling is an anthology and we wanted to build a community of collaborators for exploring sci-fi worlds. We also have an Instagram page (@Scifiabm).
Two themes unite my research: a commitment to methodological creativity and innovation as expressed in my work with computational social sciences, and an interest in the political economy of “globalization,” particularly its implications for the ontological claims of international relations theory.
I have demonstrated how the methods of computational social sciences can model bargaining and social choice problems for which traditional game theory has found only indeterminate and multiple equilibria. My June 2008 article in International Studies Quarterly (“Coordination in Large Numbers,” vol. 52, no. 2) illustrates that, contrary to the expectation of collective action theory, large groups may enjoy informational advantages that allow players with incomplete information to solve difficult three-choice coordination games. I extend this analysis in my 2009 paper at the International Studies Association annual convention, in which I apply ideas from evolutionary game theory to model learning processes among players faced with coordination and commitment problems. Currently I am extending this research to include social network theory as a means of modeling explicitly the patterns of interaction in large-n (i.e. greater than two) player coordination and cooperation games. I argue in my paper at the 2009 American Political Science Association annual convention that computational social science—the synthesis of agent-based modeling, social network analysis and evolutionary game theory—empowers scholars to analyze a broad range of previously indeterminate bargaining problems. I also argue this synthesis gives researchers purchase on two of the central debates in international political economy scholarship. By modeling explicitly processes of preference formation, computational social science moves beyond the rational actor model and endogenizes the processes of learning that constructivists have identified as essential to understanding change in the international system. This focus on the micro foundations of international political economy in turn allows researchers to understand how social structural features emerge and constrain actor choices. Computational social science thus allows IPE to formalize and generalize our understandings of mutual constitution and systemic change, an observation that explains the paradoxical interest of constructivists like Ian Lustick and Matthew Hoffmann in the formal methods of computational social science. Currently I am writing a manuscript that develops these ideas and applies them to several challenges of globalization: developing institutions to manage common pool resources; reforming capital adequacy standards for banks; and understanding cascading failures in global networks.
While computational social science increasingly informs my research, I have also contributed to debates about the epistemological claims of computational social science. My chapter with James N. Rosenau in Complexity in World Politics (ed. by Neil E. Harrison, SUNY Press 2006) argues that agent-based modeling suffers from underdeveloped and hidden epistemological and ontological commitments. On a more light-hearted note, my article in PS: Political Science and Politics (“Clocks, Not Dartboards,” vol. 39, no. 3, July 2006) discusses problems with pseudo-random number generators and illustrates how they can surprise unsuspecting teachers and researchers.
The goal of my research program is to improve our understanding about highly integrated natural and human processes. Within the context of Land-System Science, I seek to understand how natural and human systems interact through feedback mechanisms and affect land management choices among humans and ecosystem (e.g., carbon storage) and biophysical processes (e.g., erosion) in natural systems. One component of this program involves finding novel methods for data collection (e.g., unmanned aerial vehicles) that can be used to calibrate and validate models of natural systems at the resolution of decision makers. Another component of this program involves the design and construction of agent-based models to formalize our understanding of human decisions and their interaction with their environment in computer code. The most exciting, and remaining part, is coupling these two components together so that we may not only quantify the impact of representing their coupling, but more importantly to assess the impacts of changing climate, technology, and policy on human well-being, patterns of land use and land management, and ecological and biophysical aspects of our environment.
To achieve this overarching goal, my students and I conduct fieldwork that involves the use of state-of-the-art unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in combination with ground-based light detection and ranging (LiDAR) equipment, RTK global positioning system (GPS) receivers, weather and soil sensors, and a host of different types of manual measurements. We bring these data together to make methodological advancements and benchmark novel equipment to justify its use in the calibration and validation of models of natural and human processes. By conducting fieldwork at high spatial resolutions (e.g., parcel level) we are able to couple our representation of natural system processes at the scale at which human actors make decisions and improve our understanding about how they react to changes and affect our environment.
land use; land management; agricultural systems; ecosystem function; carbon; remote sensing; field measurements; unmanned aerial vehicle; human decision-making; erosion, hydrological, and agent-based modelling
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.