Thesis subject

Farmers’ decision-making and information diffusion

Level: BSc or MSc

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.

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