Simon Powers

Simon Powers

Dr Simon Powers

Lecturer

Biography

Most generally, I am interested in computational social, political, and economic science. My research looks at how tools from computer science and taking an algorithmic viewpoint helps us to answer the key questions in these disciplines. Can human values such as justice and fairness be formalised computationally? Can doing so help to build Artificial Intelligence systems that interact with humans in a more meaningful way? How can we use Artificial Intelligence to help a group work together to avoid overexploiting their resources and falling prey to the Tragedy of the Commons, for example through smart energy management?

My current research investigates the links between institutions, computer science, and multi-agent systems. How can we use tools from computer science to formally model human institutions? And how can what we learn about human institutions help us to build open socio-technical systems in which independent, distributed artificial agents cooperate? Applications of this that I am currently working on include smart grids, community energy systems, and cloud computing.

I previously held postdoctoral positions with Prof. Laurent Lehmann at the Department of Ecology & Evolution, University of Lausanne (2011-2015), and with Dr. Joanna Bryson at the Department of Computer Science, University of Bath (2011). My Ph.D. thesis (2010) is titled "Social niche construction: Evolutionary explanations for cooperative group formation", and was supervised by Prof. Richard Watson at the School of Electronics & Computer Science, University of Southampton.

I am an Associate Editor for IEEE Technology & Society Magazine, and for Adaptive Behavior.

News

Events

Esteem

Conference Organising Activity

  • Programme committee member for ALife 2018: The 2018 Conference on Artificial Life
  • Programme committee member for GECCO 2018: The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
  • Programme committee member for SASO 2018: 12th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems
  • Programme committee member for ECAL 2017: 14th European Conference on Artificial Life
  • Programme committee member for SASO 2017: 11th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems
  • Programme committee member for GECCO 2017: The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference
  • Programme committee member for ALife XV: The 15th International Conference on the Synthesis and Simulation of Living Systems
  • Programme committee member for GECCO 2016: The Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference

 

Editorial Activity

  • Associate Editor for IEEE Technology & Society Magazine
  • Associate Editor for Adaptive Behavior

 

Invited Speaker

  • Seminar at Keele University
  • Keynote speaker at The Second Workshop on Social Learning and Cultural Evolution (SLACE 2017)
  • Seminar at Aston University

 

Research Degree External Examining

  • Ph.D. external examiner at University of Manchester
  • Ph.D. external examiner at University of Southampton

 

Date


31 results

Modelling the Impact of Individual Preferences on Traffic Policies

Journal Article
Nguyen, J., Powers, S., Urquhart, N., Farrenkopf, T., & Guckert, M. (2022)
Modelling the Impact of Individual Preferences on Traffic Policies. SN Computer Science, 3, Article 365. https://doi.org/10.1007/s42979-022-01253-3
Urban traffic is a system always prone to overload, often approaching breakdown during rush hour times. Well adjusted modifications of traffic policies, with appropriate inter...

An investigation of the role of leadership in consensus decision-making

Journal Article
Perret, C., & Powers, S. T. (2022)
An investigation of the role of leadership in consensus decision-making. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 543, Article 111094. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2022.111094
Leadership is a widespread phenomena in social organisms and it is recognised to facilitate coordination between individuals. While the role of leadership in group foraging or...

Four levers of reciprocity across human societies: concepts, analysis and predictions

Journal Article
Lehmann, L., Powers, S. T., & van Schaik, C. P. (2022)
Four levers of reciprocity across human societies: concepts, analysis and predictions. Evolutionary Human Sciences, 4, https://doi.org/10.1017/ehs.2022.7
This paper surveys five human societal types – mobile foragers, horticulturalists, pre-state agriculturalists, state-based agriculturalists and liberal democracies – from the ...

Modelling transitions between egalitarian, dynamic leader and absolutist power structures

Journal Article
Bryden, J., Silverman, E., & Powers, S. T. (2022)
Modelling transitions between egalitarian, dynamic leader and absolutist power structures. PLOS ONE, 17(2), https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263665
Human groups show a variety of leadership dynamics ranging from egalitarian groups with no leader, to groups with changing leaders, to absolutist groups with a single long-ter...

Using Semantic Technology to Model Persona for Adaptable Agents

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Farrenkopf, T., Guckert, M., Powers, S., & Urquhart, N. (2021)
Using Semantic Technology to Model Persona for Adaptable Agents. In ECMS 2021, 35th Proceedings (172-178). https://doi.org/10.7148/2021
In state of the art research a growing interest in the application of agent models for the simulation of road traffic can be observed. Software agents are particularly suitabl...

An overview of agent-based traffic simulators

Journal Article
Nguyen, J., Powers, S. T., Urquhart, N., Farrenkopf, T., & Guckert, M. (2021)
An overview of agent-based traffic simulators. Transportation Research Interdisciplinary Perspectives, 12, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.trip.2021.100486
Individual traffic significantly contributes to climate change and environmental degradation. Therefore, innovation in sustainable mobility is gaining importance as it helps t...

Using AGADE Traffic to Analyse Purpose-driven Travel Behaviour

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Powers, S. T., Urquhart, N., Farrenkopf, T., & Guckert, M. (2021)
Using AGADE Traffic to Analyse Purpose-driven Travel Behaviour. In Advances in Practical Applications of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems, and Social Good: The PAAMS Collection 19th International Conference, PAAMS 2021, Salamanca, Spain, October 6–8, 2021, Proceedings (363-366). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85739-4_33
AGADE Traffic is an agent-based traffic simulator that can be used to analyse purpose-driven travel behaviour of individuals that leads to the emergence of systemic patterns i...

Modelling Individual Preferences to Study and Predict Effects of Traffic Policies

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Powers, S., Urquhart, N., Farrenkopf, T., & Guckert, M. (2021)
Modelling Individual Preferences to Study and Predict Effects of Traffic Policies. In Advances in Practical Applications of Agents, Multi-Agent Systems, and Social Good. The PAAMS Collection 19th International Conference, PAAMS 2021, Salamanca, Spain, October 6–8, 2021, Proceedings (163-175). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-85739-4_14
Traffic can be viewed as a complex adaptive system in which systemic patterns arise as emergent phenomena. Global behaviour is a result of behavioural patterns of a large set ...

Cooperation in large‐scale human societies — What, if anything, makes it unique, and how did it evolve?

Journal Article
Powers, S. T., van Schaik, C. P., & Lehmann, L. (2021)
Cooperation in large‐scale human societies — What, if anything, makes it unique, and how did it evolve?. Evolutionary Anthropology, 30(4), 280-293. https://doi.org/10.1002/evan.21909
To resolve the major controversy about why prosocial behaviors persist in large-scale human societies, we propose that two questions need to be answered. First, how do social ...

When to (or not to) trust intelligent machines: Insights from an evolutionary game theory analysis of trust in repeated games

Journal Article
Han, T. A., Perrett, C., & Powers, S. T. (2021)
When to (or not to) trust intelligent machines: Insights from an evolutionary game theory analysis of trust in repeated games. Cognitive Systems Research, 68, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cogsys.2021.02.003
The actions of intelligent agents, such as chatbots, recommender systems, and virtual assistants are typically not fully transparent to the user. Consequently , users take the...

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