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Colloquium - Dr. Sean Ahearn

Calibrating Agent-Based Models over Multiple Scales of Behavior
When Feb 02, 2018
from 03:30 PM to 04:30 PM
Where Storm Hall 316
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Calibrating Agent-Based Models over Multiple Scales of Behavior

20180202 Ahearn Colloquium

Dr. Sean C. Ahearn
Professor of Geography
Director, Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI)
Hunter College - City University of New York
New York, NY

Agent-based models (ABMs) of dynamic phenomena incorporate behavior, interaction and context to create simulations in the hope of achieving verisimilitude. Early ABMs made significant assumptions about the nature of movement upon which these models are based, which affected their ability to accurately predict outcomes given a set of conditions. With the advent of GPS, entities (animals, people, cars, etc.) fashioned with GPS receivers could be tracked at fixed temporal intervals. The resulting track, called a trajectory, can be analyzed to better understand the relationship between movement and behavior. The nature of movement is determined by local choices that are often based on context (e.g. terrain, vegetation density) and global objectives (e.g. mating, hunting, patrolling) which often occur over a range of spatial and temporal scales. How to understand and quantify these relationships and use them to calibrate ABMs is the subject of this presentation.

Dr. Ahearn is a noted expert in remote sensing and geographic information systems and has extensive research, teaching, and management experience in related subjects, with emergency response and urban GIS, digital image analysis, spatio-temporal models, agent-based models, and ecological models among his chief interests. As Director of the Center for Advanced Research of Spatial Information (CARSI) at Hunter College – City University of New York, he managed a series of large photogrammetric, remote sensing, and GIS projects. Among these, he played a major role in managing the design, development and implementation of NYCMap, the digital base map for the City of New York. Dr. Ahearn also managed a series of GIS and remote sensing applications in response and mitigation to the events of Sep 11, 2001. His work was feature in the History Channel program “The World Trade Center: Rise and Fall of an American Icon” ( From aerotriangulation to aerial photography, LiDAR campaigns, and GIS applications, Dr. Ahearn combines extensive project management experience with a keen sense for technical excellence and quality assurance. He was the lead principal investigator of the National Science Foundation grant from which BigKnowledge LLC was spun off. In recognition for his contribution to the theory and practice of remote sensing and GIS, Dr. Ahearn has received numerous awards, including a 2013 IBM Faculty Award. He previously served as President of the University Consortium for Geographic Information Science (UCGIS) and was a founding member of the National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC), on appointment by the United States Secretary of Interior. 

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