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Department of Land Economy

Environment, Law & Economics


The human society consists of a myriad of interconnected socio-technical systems. People, machines, organization, the environment, infrastructures, markets, laws and habits form a complex adaptive socio-technical system, evolving through constant parallel and distributed interaction of heterogeneous social and technical elements. Understanding and shaping this evolution is essential if we are to rise to the challenges of climate change, resource scarcity, population growth and changing geo-political regimes. Agent-Based Modelling is a bottom up, generative modelling technique, in which individual heterogeneous agents act, react on, and interact with each other and their environment. We use ABM as a what-if scenario exploration tool, exploring possible futures as they might develop when different actions are taken. Examples include policies that may affect shifts from products to services, exploring the effects of different flood insurance options to land use development, decarbonisation policies for the electricity sector, and developments towards climate-resilient electricity networks. At TPM, we are unique in applying ABM to socio-technical context, taking both the physical/technical reality seriously and considering the social aspects, the economy, institutional, habitual and value-loaded aspects. In this talk, I will focus on providing a Complex Adaptive Systems perspective on modelling such systems and discussing the co-evolutionary modelling approach and philosophy we developed while building models of such systems. The approach will be demonstrated using several models of energy systems.  



Professor Igor Nikolic



Igor trained as a chemical and bio-process engineer at the Delft University of Technology; he received his Cum Laude degree, with an additional sustainable technology certificate in 2001. After a number of years of working as an environmental scientist at the Centre of Environmental Science (CML) in Leiden, he has joined the Energy and Industry group at the faculty of Technology, Policy and Management at the TUD as a PhD candidate. He has received his PhD degree in 2009, with thesis work focused on the design of a co-evolutionary method for constructing Agent Based Models of the evolution of Large Scale Socio-Technical systems. He has recently spent half a year as a senior visiting research associate at the Environmental Change Institute at the University of Oxford.  He can be characterized as a creative, multidisciplinary and out-of-the-box system thinking, applying Complex Adaptive Systems theory, Universal Darwinism and Agent Based Modelling to understanding and shaping the co-evolution of socio- technical systems across a wide range of domains, focusing on the impacts of policies on the technical and social constituents of systems, always aiming at improving the sustainability of these systems.  Currently he is involved in a wide array or research topics through industry and EU funded projects, ranging from smart-grids, regional industrial networks, e-waste markets, servicizing systems, flood protection and development aid. To this field he brings complex adaptive systems view and socio-technical ABM perspective, as well as a strong methodological focus on model development.

Thursday, 13 November, 2014 - 16:00 to 17:00
Contact name: 
Clare Cassidy
Event location: 
Mill Lane Lecture Room 1