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Title: Multi-agent based simulation of self-governing knowledge commons
Author: Macbeth, Samuel
ISNI:       0000 0004 7232 9710
Awarding Body: Imperial College London
Current Institution: Imperial College London
Date of Award: 2015
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The potential of user-generated sensor data for participatory sensing has motivated the formation of organisations focused on the exploitation of collected information and associated knowledge. Given the power and value of both the raw data and the derived knowledge, we advocate an open approach to data and intellectual-property rights. By treating user-generated content as well as derived information and knowledge as a common-pool resource, we hypothesise that all participants can be compensated fairly for their input. To test this hypothesis, we undertake an extensive review of experimental, commercial and social participatory-sensing applications, from which we identify that a decentralised, community-oriented governance model is required to support this open approach. We show that the Institutional Analysis and Design framework as introduced by Elinor Ostrom, in conjunction with a framework for self-organising electronic institutions, can be used to give both an architectural and algorithmic base for the necessary governance model, in terms of operational and collective choice rules specified in computational logic. As a basis for understanding the effect of governance on these applications, we develop a testbed which joins our logical formulation of the knowledge commons with a generic model of the participatory-sensing problem. This requires a multi-agent platform for the simulation of autonomous and dynamic agents, and a method of executing the logical calculus in which our electronic institution is specified. To this end, firstly, we develop a general purpose, high performance platform for multi-agent based simulation, Presage2. Secondly, we propose a method for translating event-calculus axioms into rules compatible with business rule engines, and provide an implementation for JBoss Drools along with a suite of modules for electronic institutions. Through our simulations we show that, when building electronic institutions for managing participatory sensing as a knowledge commons, proper enfranchisement of agents (as outlined in Ostrom's work) is key to striking a balance between endurance, fairness and reduction of greedy behaviour. We conclude with a set of guidelines for engineering knowledge commons for the next generation of participatory-sensing applications.
Supervisor: Pitt, Jeremy Sponsor: Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral