UNESCO/IHE - Agent-based models of sociotechnical systems

UNESCO/IHE - Agent-based models of sociotechnical systems

UNESCO-IHE has been developing Agent-Based Models (ABM) of sociotechnical systems for the purpose of understanding the evolution of extreme events. Such models provide invaluable means for understanding the behaviour of actors in order to develop adaptive risk management strategies and policies. An agent can be any entity that completes an action or takes a decision, by which it effectively interacts with its environment. It may represent an actor in a social network (e.g. a human being, an operator deciding to shut down a pumping station, or a community member who lives in a flood-prone area). It may also represent an organisation, for example a water utility company who wants to implement flood prevention measures or a government deciding on a new policy (or a design standard) for flood protection.

The focus of these models is on interacting agents and how their interaction can lead to emergent phenomenon that is within the framework of models developed to show the evolution of extreme events. The idea behind ABM is to emulate, rather than to calculate, (optimal) states of the system and to explore the possible development paths (i.e. possible states of the system or possible futures). This in turn is then used to evaluate which development paths are acceptable and which are not. The model developed has been evaluated in several European and International case studies.

Location: Worldwide
Contact: Zoran Vojinovic (z.vojinovic@unesco-ihe.org)

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