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Christopher Watts Member since: Monday, March 14, 2011 Full Member

PhD Warwick Business School, MSc Operational Research, University of Southampton, Post-graduate Diploma in Theology, University of Cambridge, MA / BA (Hons.) Philosophy, University of Cambridge

I live near Cambridge, and recently I developed agent-based land-use models with Geography PhD students there. I also took part in the “Cybernetics and Society” seminar.

Previously, I spent three years at Ludwig-Maximillians University, Munich, working on Human-Environment Relations and Sustainability, and over two and a half years at Surrey University, working on Innovation with Nigel Gilbert in the Centre for Research in Social Simulation (CRESS). The project at Surrey resulted in a book in 2014, “Simulating Innovation: Computer-based Tools for Rethinking Innovation”. My PhD topic, modelling human agents who energise or de-energise each other in social interactions, drew upon the work of sociologist Randall Collins. My multi-disciplinary background includes degrees in Operational Research (MSc) and Philosophy (BA/MA).

I got hooked on agent-based modelling and complexity science some time around 2000, via the work of Brian Arthur, Stuart Kauffman, Robert Axelrod and Duncan Watts (no relation!).

I am an agent-based modeller specialising in Netlogo and Excel/VBA. My recent interests include Human-Environment Relations, Innovation, Collective Intelligence and Governance Systems, and the Collapse of Complex Societies.

I have a longer term aim to study the modelling of Institutions, especially the cognitive architecture for agents who can recognise, learn and innovate in institutions.

If you’re based near Cambridge and have an idea for a modelling project, for the cost of a beer/coffee I’m always willing to offer advice.

Sedar Olmez Member since: Wednesday, November 06, 2019 Full Member

MSci in Computer Science, MSc in Data Analytics and Society

Sedar is a PhD student at the University of Leeds, department of Geography. He graduated in Computer Science at King’s College London 2018. From a very early stage of his degree, he focused on artificial intelligence planning implementations on drones in a search and rescue domain, and this was his first formal attempt to study artificial intelligence. He participated in summer school at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul working on programming techniques to reduce execution time. During his final year, he concentrated on how argumentation theory with natural language processing can be used to optimise political influence. In the midst of completing his degree, he applied to Professor Alison Heppenstall’s research proposal focusing on data analytics and society, a joint endeavour with the Alan Turing Institute and the Economic and Social Research Council. From 2018 - 2023 he will be working on his PhD at the Alan Turing Institute and Leeds Institute for Data Analytics.

Sedar will be focusing on data analytics and smart cities, developing a programming library to try simulate how policies can impact a small world of autonomous intelligent agents to try deduce positive or negative impact in the long run. If the impact is positive and this is conveyed collectively taking into consideration the agent’s health, happiness and other social characteristics then the policy can be considered. Furthermore, he will work on agent based modelling to solve and provide faster solutions to economic and social elements of society, establishing applied and theoretical answers. Some other interests are:

  • Multi-agent systems
  • Intelligent agents
  • Natural language processing
  • Artificial intelligence planning
  • Machine learning
  • Neural networks
  • Genetic programming
  • Geocomputation
  • Argumentation theory
  • Smart cities

Kristin Crouse Member since: Sunday, June 05, 2016 Full Member Reviewer

B.S. Astronomy/Astrophysics, B.A. Anthropology

I am a PhD Candidate in the Biological Anthropology program at the University of Minnesota. My research involves using agent-based models combined with field research to test a broad range of hypotheses in biology. I have created a model, B3GET, which simulates the evolution of virtual organisms to better understand the relationships between growth and development, life history and reproductive strategies, mating strategies, foraging strategies, and how ecological factors drive these relationships. I also conduct field research to better model the behavior of these virtual organisms. Here I am pictured with an adult male gelada in Ethiopia!

I specialize in writing agent-based models for both research in and the teaching of subjects including: biology, genetics, evolution, demography, and behavior.

For my dissertation research, I have developed “B3GET,” an agent-based model which simulates populations of virtual organisms evolving over generations, whose evolutionary outcomes reflect the selection pressures of their environment. The model simulates several factors considered important in biology, including life history trade-offs, investment in body size, variation in aggression, sperm competition, infanticide, and competition over access to food and mates. B3GET calculates each agent’s ‘decision-vectors’ from its diploid chromosomes and current environmental context. These decision-vectors dictate movement, body growth, desire to mate and eat, and other agent actions. Chromosomes are modified during recombination and mutation, resulting in behavioral strategies that evolve over generations. Rather than impose model parameters based on a priori assumptions, I have used an experimental evolution procedure to evolve traits that enabled populations to persist. Seeding a succession of populations with the longest surviving genotype from each run resulted in the evolution of populations that persisted indefinitely. I designed B3GET for my dissertation, but it has an indefinite number of applications for other projects in biology. B3GET helps answer fundamental questions in evolutionary biology by offering users a virtual field site to precisely track the evolution of organismal populations. Researchers can use B3GET to: (1) investigate how populations vary in response to ecological pressures; (2) trace evolutionary histories over indefinite time scales and generations; (3) track an individual for every moment of their life from conception to post-mortem decay; and (4) create virtual analogues of living species, including primates like baboons and chimpanzees, to answer species-specific questions. Users are able to save, edit, and import population and genotype files, offering an array of possibilities for creating controlled biological experiments.

Francesc Bellaubi Member since: Thursday, June 27, 2013

PhD candidate

performance of urban water service provision, high levels of inequities and inefficiency persist. In terms of water distribution and cost, these undesirable patterns have a high impact on peri-urban areas usually populated by marginalized and poor populations. The high levels of Non-Revenue Water (NRW), together with the existence of corrupt practices and mismanagement of water utilities, remain a highly controversial issue.

This situation confronts rent-seeking theory directly, explaining the performance-corruption relationship (Repetto, 1986). The presumption is that low performance in water supply service provision results from corruption because rent-seeking occurs. Hence, the implementation of performance-oriented reforms in the water supply sector, such as regulation or private sector participation, will reduce corruption, increasing the efficiency of water service provision. Nevertheless, latest evidence shows that “key elements of good political governance have a positive effect on the access to water services in developing countries. In turn, private sector participation has little influence other than increasing internal efficiency of water providers” (Krausse, 2009).

Indeed the relation between governance, corruption and performance seems to be more complex than theory wants to acknowledge. It must be reviewed further than a simple cause-effect relationship. It appears that poor management of water utilities, evidenced by high levels of NRW, justifies new investments. Such practices can be encouraged by an “opportunistic management”, whilst at the same time maintaining an influential “hydrocratic elite” in the sphere of water control.

The present research proposal aims to understand the relation between mismanagement and corruption of water control practices in water supply service provision. The research examines how this relationship affects the performance of water service provision and relates to water supply governance models at municipal peri-urban level in three African countries.

To understand the mismanagement-corruption relationship, we look at different case studies of water supply service provision in Senegal, Ghana and Kenya. Each case represents a different governance model in terms of management practices, institutional and organizational settings, and the actors in place, which affects the performance of water service provision in terms of allocative efficiency and access to water (equity). Whether regulation, decentralization and private sector participation constitute possible ways to reduce corruption is examined in the context of water sector reform.

In a second step, we propose a theoretical model based on Agent Based Modelling (ABM) (Pahl-Wostl, 2007) to reproduce complex social networks under a Socio-Ecological System (SES) framework approach. The model will allow us to test whether collaborative governance in the form of collective action in a participatory and negotiated decision-making process for water control, can reduce corruption and increase performance.

The present research benefits from the project “Transparency and Integrity in Service Delivery in Sub-Saharan Africa”. This project, carried out by Transparency International (TI) in 8 Sub-Saharan countries, aims to increase access to education, health and water by improving transparency and integrity in basic service delivery. The proposal retains focus on Senegal, Ghana and Kenya in the water sector.

Key words: water control, mismanagement, corruption, performance, collaborative governance, modelling, collective action, negotiation, participation

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