BSc Thesis topic

Strategies to increase antibiotics compliance behaviour

Research area/discipline: (Agent) Simulation Modelling

Prerequisites: Agent-based modelling of complex adaptive systems (INF-50806)

Links with existing research: A submitted STW research proposal

Short description:

Inappropriate or too much antibiotic use in livestock farming can lead to resistant bacteria that contribute to an alarming health risk for society, causing societal commotion and extra costs. Regulated by law, the main responsibility for antibiotics use lies since 2013 with farmer and veterinarian. Current compliance strategies do not take into account that the farmers and veterinarians are a heterogeneous group with many individual differences, who make autonomous decisions, but who are also influenced by each other’s decisions.

Thesis project: compare effectiveness of strategies on a fixed population

Using agent-based simulation, a thesis project can be to compare the effectiveness of compliance strategies. Possible strategies can be aimed at: enforcement by governmental agencies; education and training of farmers and veterinarians; peer influence among farmers and veterinarians; social influence from the general public.

Thesis project: compare populations with a fixed strategy

Using agent-based modelling, a thesis project can be to vary (social) attributes of the population of farmers and/or veterinarians. These properties can be: farm characteristics; management style and attitudes; personal characteristics (e.g. inclination to be compliant; status; power).

Thesis project:  compare farmers’ decision behaviour

Using agent-based modelling, a thesis project can be to compare farmers’ decision-making behaviour with respect to compliance. Two extremes are (1) the rationalist, taking his own decision, not influenced by others, and (2) the imitator, who bases his decision exclusively on what others do. Most farmers will be somewhere in between.

Thesis project: compare veterinarians’ attitudes

Using agent-based modelling, a thesis project can be to compare veterinarians’ attitudes with respect to compliance. Vets can only prescribe anti-biotics medication to farmers if they deem this appropriate, and they also need to register their antibiotics prescriptions. Some vets may be more inclined to prescribe than others.

Thesis project: sensitivity analysis

In conjunction / following one of the other projects: once a model is ready, it takes a lot of time to run it and test how various parameters respond to each other; how sensible the model is to changes; how to present meaningful output from all these runs.

 

For more information: Sjoukje.Osinga@wur.nl

Farmers’ decision-making and information diffusion

Research area/discipline: (Agent) Simulation Modelling

Prerequisites: Agent-based modelling of complex adaptive systems (INF-50806)

Links with existing research: completed PhD research

Short description:

In an existing agent-based model, information goes round in a farmer population, based on which they make decisions. Information is exchanged between agents. The information itself has multiple aspects: its id, its type (what category of information) and its value  (how important is this information for its current owner?).

Thesis Project: Does it matter whom it comes from?

We would like to extend this model with another attribute: importance. Who does the information come from? If it is from a respected, successful farmer, the information may be more important than if it is from an unimportant farmer. The importance of the information also affects the decision-making itself (how?)

Thesis Project: How can group membership affect behaviour?

We would like to extend the model in a social direction. We  divide agents over groups and let agents’ behaviour depend more on behaviour of members of their group. Or: information is exchanged differently between ‘group members’ or between members of two different groups. Behaving according to norms could be part of this group behaviour.

Thesis project: sensitivity analysis

In conjunction / following one of the other projects: once a model is ready, it takes a lot of time to run it and test how various parameters respond to each other; how sensible the model is to changes; how to present meaningful output from all these runs.

 

For more information: Sjoukje.Osinga@wur.nl

 


Your own proposal (web technology, consumer demand...)

Research area/discipline: Any information technology research area

Prerequisites: Applied Information Systems / Toegepaste Informatiekunde (INF-20806)

Links with existing research: none, so you need to be highly motivated to build this up.

Short description:

If you have a research idea with respect to topics that relate to the INF20806 course, you can propose it and we can see what we can work out.

Examples:

-          Launch a new product or concept; build a prototype website for it and test the product’s / concept’s acceptance among possible consumers.

-          Collect web traffic data and see what you can analyse / deduce from it. (You will need to find these data yourself, so a connection with a third party is helpful).

-          Analyze a business process and see how it can be improved with ICT (You will need to find a cooperating business yourself, so a connection with a third party is helpful).

 

For more information: Sjoukje.Osinga@wur.nl


Software Architecture Design for Smart Farming

Research area/discipline: Software Engineering

Prerequisites: Software Engineering (INF-32306), Programming in Python (INF-22306)

Short description:

Precision agriculture (PA) or satellite farming is a farming management concept based on observing, measuring and responding to inter and intra-field variability in crops. Crop variability typically has both a spatial and temporal component which makes statistical/computational treatments quite involved. Smart systems incorporate functions of sensing, actuation, and control in order to describe and analyze a situation, and make decisions based on the available data in a predictive or adaptive manner, thereby performing smart actions.

While smart farming provides many new opportunities designing and engineering them is not trivial. In this project you will first carry out a stakeholder analysis for developing smart farming systems. Subsequently you will analyze software architecture design and modeling approaches and principles and apply this to the design of smart farming. In particular you will derive different software architecture views reflecting different perspectives of smart farming systems. The result of the project is a software architecture design for smart farming that is aligned to the identified stakeholder concerns.

 

For more information: Bedir.Tekinerdogan@wur.nl