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 Activity

  • Programme committee member for SASO 2018: 12th IEEE International Conference on Self-Adaptive and Self-Organizing Systems
  • 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 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 Southampton
  • Ph.D. external examiner at University of Manchester

 

Date


27 results

Modelling Individual Preferences to Study and Predict Effects of Traffic Policies

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Powers, S., Urquhart, N., Farrenkopf, T., & Guckert, M. (in press)
Modelling Individual Preferences to Study and Predict Effects of Traffic Policies
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 ...

Using AGADE Traffic to Analyse Purpose-driven Travel Behaviour

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Powers, S. T., Urquhart, N., Farrenkopf, T., & Guckert, M. (in press)
Using AGADE Traffic to Analyse Purpose-driven Travel Behaviour
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...

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. (in press)
Cooperation in large‐scale human societies — What, if anything, makes it unique, and how did it evolve?. Evolutionary Anthropology, 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
Perrett, C., Powers, S. T., & Han, T. A. (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...

Using Semantic Technology to Model Persona for Adaptable Agents

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Farrenkopf, T., Guckert, M., Powers, S., & Urquhart, N. (in press)
Using Semantic Technology to Model Persona for Adaptable Agents. In ECMS2021 Proceedings
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...

Using Semantic Technology to Model Persona for Adaptable Agents

Conference Proceeding
Nguyen, J., Farrenkopf, T., Guckert, M., Powers, S., & Urquhart, N. (in press)
Using Semantic Technology to Model Persona for Adaptable Agents
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...

A mechanism to promote social behaviour in household load balancing

Conference Proceeding
Brooks, N. A., Powers, S. T., & Borg, J. M. (2020)
A mechanism to promote social behaviour in household load balancing. In Proceedings of the Artificial Life Conference 2020 (ALIFE 2020). , (95-103). https://doi.org/10.1162/isal_a_00290
Reducing the peak energy consumption of households is essential for the effective use of renewable energy sources, in order to ensure that as much household demand as possible...

From disorganized equality to efficient hierarchy: how group size drives the evolution of hierarchy in human societies

Journal Article
Perret, C., Hart, E., & Powers, S. T. (2020)
From disorganized equality to efficient hierarchy: how group size drives the evolution of hierarchy in human societies. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 287(1928), https://doi.org/10.1098/rspb.2020.0693
A manifest trend is that larger and more productive human groups shift from distributed to centralized decision-making. Voluntary theories propose that human groups shift to h...

Being a leader or being the leader: The evolution of institutionalised hierarchy

Conference Proceeding
Perret, C., Hart, E., & Powers, S. T. (2019)
Being a leader or being the leader: The evolution of institutionalised hierarchy. In ALIFE 2019: The 2019 Conference on Artificial Life, (171-178). https://doi.org/10.1162/isal_a_00158
Human social hierarchy has the unique characteristic of existing in two forms. Firstly, as an informal hierarchy where leaders and followers are implicitly defined by their pe...

Increasing Trust in Meta-Heuristics by Using MAP-Elites

Conference Proceeding
Urquhart, N., Guckert, M., & Powers, S. (2019)
Increasing Trust in Meta-Heuristics by Using MAP-Elites. In GECCO '19 Companion, (1345-1348). https://doi.org/10.1145/3319619.3326816
Intelligent AI systems using approaches containing emergent elements often encounter acceptance problems. Results do not get sufficiently explained and the procedure itself ca...

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