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Mason-Yale Joint Project on Eastern Africa

This image, generated by the RiftLand model, depicts the city network with internally displaced people and refugees on top of the map of the study area, a 1,000-mile square around Lake Victoria. This image, generated by the RiftLand model, depicts the city network with internally displaced people and refugees overlying the map of the study area, a 1,000-mile square around Lake Victoria.

This image, generated by the RiftLand model, depicts the city network with internally displaced people and refugees overlying the map of the study area, a 1,000-mile square around Lake Victoria.

The core mission of this multi-disciplinary and multi-objective project is to build and analyze innovative and interrelated computational models of asymmetric conflict with explicit socio-cultural content that can advance understanding and improve policy analysis. As a result of a funding extension, our mission became more specifically focused on developing advanced computational tools applied specifically to Humanitarian Assistance / Disaster Relief (HD/DR) scenario analysis. This is an area where socio-techno-natural agent-based models have proven to be very effective, whereas other methodologies (e.g., game theory, expected utility, or econometric models) have proven incapable of handling the complex ontology of entities and relations in the HA/DR landscape.  We are developing new theory and advanced computational methods and simulation models using MASON (Multi-Agent Simulator of Networks and Neighborhoods, a high performance, scalable multi-agent system), GeoMASON, and ECJ (Evolutionary Computation in Java) for achieving progress in advanced socio-cultural modeling by developing a representation of an irregular warfare region that has both scientific and policy interest.

The study region is Eastern Africa, chosen for its combined scientific and policy significance in terms of complex disasters and human populations at risk. In addition to modeling, we are conducting a number of cross-cultural comparisons using extant ethnographic data to test predictions about why and how violence varies. This combination of multi-method approaches will lead to better understanding of conflict and its consequences. We have been working with the DOD/Civilian Affairs liaison at the Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU) of the State Department since the initial stages of model development and eventually we will make the deliverables available to them and other USG/DOD organizations working on complex humanitarian crisis management (AFRICOM).

PI:  Dr. Claudio Cioffi-Revilla

Co-PIs:  Dr. Sean Luke, Dr. Ken De Jong

Research Faculty:  Dr. Bill Kennedy, Dr. Tim Gulden

MURI Team

MURI Team

Graduate Research Assistants: Jeff Bassett, Mark Coletti, Chenna Reddy Cotla, Ates Hailegiorgis, Joey Harrison, Mark Rouleau, Eric (Siggy) Scott, Keith Sullivan, Habib Karbasian

Human Relations Area Files (HRAF) at Yale University: Carol R. Ember (Co-PI, 2005-), Mel Ember (Co-PI, 2005-08), Teferi Abate Adem (2005-), Ian Skoggard (2006-), and Eric C. Jones (2008-).

Humanitarian Information Unit (HIU), US State Department: Jeffrey Bakken (2005-11), Paul Bartel (2005-12), Linda Granfield (2005-07), Dennis King (2005-), Lauren Kulinski (2007-12), Lee Schwartz (2005-), Benson Wilder (2005-)

The project’s public website is: MURI Wiki