Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract - Thomas

Friday, February 22 - 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
Research Hall, 3rd Floor

Collective Intelligence, Institutional Innovation, and Interdependent Risk

Russell Thomas
CSS PhD Student
George Mason University

Abstract: As a socio-technical system, cyber security evolves rapidly. It’s an innovation race analogous to host/parasite ecosystems, but the adversaries are winning. Because social and economic factors are crucial, “Cyber Economic Incentives” is a top research priority. Many proposed solutions depend on reliable estimates of risk to create incentives and guide decisions. But, risk estimation is hard in this setting because of interdependence, fragmented knowledge, and severe uncertainties. There has been little research progress toward practical, scalable solutions that embrace the difficulties and complexities.

My dissertation will use computational social science methods to study interdependent risks in a simulated critical infrastructure setting, focusing on: 1) risk estimation by professionals, modeled as situated, sensemaking agents in a community; 2) collective intelligence mechanisms (e.g. information sharing); and 3) social processes for institutional innovation.

This talk will present a novel federated multi-agent simulation architecture featuring three loosely coupled levels: 1) operations, 2) professional community and 3) institutions. The goal of this architecture is to provide a computational experimental laboratory suitable for both artificial agents and human subjects.