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 SASO 2017: 11th 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 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

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


21 results

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...

A mechanism to promote social behaviour in household load balancing

Conference Proceeding
Brooks, N. A., Powers, S. T., & Borg, J. M. (in press)
A mechanism to promote social behaviour in household load balancing. In Proceedings of the Artificial Life Conference 2020 (ALIFE 2020)
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...

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...

An Agent Based Technique for Improving Multi-Stakeholder Optimisation Problems

Conference Proceeding
Urquhart, N., & Powers, S. T. (2019)
An Agent Based Technique for Improving Multi-Stakeholder Optimisation Problems. In PAAMS 2019: Advances in Practical Applications of Survivable Agents and Multi-Agent Systems: The PAAMS Collection: vol 1 – Main track and Demos proceedings, 285-289. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24209-1_32
We present an agent based framework for improving multi-stakeholder optimisation problems, which we define as optimisation problems where the solution is utilised by a number ...

Finding Fair Negotiation Algorithms to Reduce Peak Electricity Consumption in Micro Grids

Conference Proceeding
Powers, S. T., Meanwell, O., & Cai, Z. (2019)
Finding Fair Negotiation Algorithms to Reduce Peak Electricity Consumption in Micro Grids. In PAAMS 2019: Advances in Practical Applications of Survivable Agents and Multi-Agent Systems: The PAAMS Collection, 269-272. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24209-1_28
Reducing peak electricity consumption is important to maximise use of renewable energy sources, and reduce the total amount of capacity required on a grid. Most approaches use...

Simulating the actions of commuters using a multi-agent system

Journal Article
Urquhart, N., Powers, S., Wall, Z., Fonzone, A., Ge, J., & Polhill, G. (2019)
Simulating the actions of commuters using a multi-agent system. Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, 22(2), https://doi.org/10.18564/jasss.4007
The activity of commuting to and from a place of work affects not only those travelling but also wider society through their contribution to congestion and pollution. It is de...

Trusting Intelligent Machines: Deepening Trust Within Socio-Technical Systems

Journal Article
Andras, P., Esterle, L., Guckert, M., Anh Han, T., Lewis, P. R., Milanovic, K., …Wells, S. (2018)
Trusting Intelligent Machines: Deepening Trust Within Socio-Technical Systems. IEEE technology & society magazine, 37(4), 76-83. https://doi.org/10.1109/MTS.2018.2876107
Intelligent machines have reached capabilities that go beyond a level that a human being can fully comprehend without sufficiently detailed understanding of the underlying mec...

Can justice be fair when it is blind? How social network structures can promote or prevent the evolution of despotism

Conference Proceeding
Perret, C., Powers, S. T., Pitt, J., & Hart, E. (2018)
Can justice be fair when it is blind? How social network structures can promote or prevent the evolution of despotism. In T. Ikegami, N. Virgo, O. Witkowski, M. Oka, R. Suzuki, & H. Iizuka (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Artificial Lifehttps://doi.org/10.1162/isal_a_00058
Hierarchy is an efficient way for a group to organize, but often goes along with inequality that benefits leaders. To control despotic behaviour, followers can assess leaders'...

Co-creating Enduring Institutions for Socio-Technical Systems: The Complementarity of Content-based and Value-based Modelling Approaches

Conference Proceeding
Lewis, P. R., Powers, S. T., & Ekárt, A. (2018)
Co-creating Enduring Institutions for Socio-Technical Systems: The Complementarity of Content-based and Value-based Modelling Approaches. In N. Virgo, T. Ikegami, O. Witkowski, M. Oka, R. Suzuki, & H. Iizuka (Eds.), Proceedings of the 2018 Conference on Artificial Lifehttps://doi.org/10.1162/isal_a_00026
No abstract available.

Current Post Grad projects

Previous Post Grad projects