Abstract: While studies based on past data trends for hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) and other fuel-efficient vehicles provide relevant insight, they are of limited applicability for estimating consumer response to the very different conditions associated with current-day adoption of plug-in hybrid electric vehicle (PHEV) technology. The plug-in technology offers new challenges to market penetration, and environmental attitudes and awareness are also very different than in past decades. While awareness of the role of vehicle emissions in global climate change is high in many parts of the world, it is not clear how consumers will weigh a vehicle’s heuristically perceived benefits against rational financial considerations when making a vehicle purchasing decision. The research goals of this project were: to create a model to study potential PHEV market penetration in the personal transportation sector; to assemble data to properly inform the model; to develop methods for efficient up-scaling of model behavior; to use the model to assess the sensitivities of system behavior to various policies and market conditions; and to understand the regulatory regime necessary to support widespread adoption of PHEVs. Various complex systems modeling approaches were used to tackle these goals. To fill identified gaps in the data, the authors designed, conducted, and analyzed an extensive survey on consumer attitudes towards PHEVs using the Amazon Mechanical Turk crowd-sourcing platform.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).