Agent-based computational simulations are now widely employed to study the evolution of behaviour, e.g., predator-prey simulations, the evolution of cooperation and altruism, the evolution of niches and food chains. These methods implement evolutionary processes in virtual populations of software agents and explore the evolution of their behaviour in diverse environments. Many behaviours that are not well understood in biological systems, that are difficult or impossible to measure in real environments, can be accurately captured and understood using these techniques.
We are especially interested in exploring how deceptions, such as camouflage or mimicry, have impacted the evolution of species. Recent advances in the modelling of deception, using information-theoretic techniques, allow deceptions to be easily incorporated into evolutionary simulations.
Agent-based modelling and information-theoretic models can be employed to explore how deceptions could have evolved in biological systems: their evolutionary advantages and what circumstances are favourable or unfavourable for their evolution. The intent is to explore what is known of deception in biology and evolutionary psychology and to contribute to the underdeveloped field of the evolution of cognition.
This project is suited for a student with good skills in mathematics and computer science, and an interest in information theory and evolutionary science. PhD applicants with honours or research masters degree in an applicable computing discipline should contact me by email at Carlo.Kopp@Monash.edu. Curriculum vitae, references and an academic transcript of results are to be presented on request. For PhD applicants for whom English is not their first language, documentary evidence of English proficiency is required (IELTS 6.5).