PhD Defense on Governance of Complex Cyber-infrastructure

Today, I chaired a PhD committee at the University of Amsterdam. The PhD candidate Mostafa Mohajeri Parizi defended his dissertation “An Agent-based Approach to the Governance of Complex Cyber-Infrastructures”. The dissertation explores the impact of digitization on society and the need for engineering approaches to ensure that digital systems comply with regulations. Mostafa did his PhD research in the Complex Cyber-Infrastructure (CCI) group under the supervision of TNO colleague Tom van Engers (Principal Scientist ISP DS). The work centers on the use of computational agents and norms to develop tools and methodologies for governing socio-technical systems. The study introduces ASC2, an agent-based programming framework built on the belief-desire-intention model, alongside a scalable multi-agent system environment. It emphasizes the integration of mainstream software development tools into agent-based programming and enhances transparency and decision-making in agents by incorporating context-dependent preferences. Furthermore, the dissertation proposes a modular architecture for integrating norms into multi-agent systems, allowing for the flexible adoption and reasoning of norms without compromising agent autonomy. This is illustrated through two case studies demonstrating the framework’s application in coordinating agent actions and aligning them with encoded laws. The research highlights the potential of agent and norm models in improving the design and policy-making of digital infrastructures.

Mostafa did a good job presenting and defending his work and the committee were impressed by the breadth of the research. We hope the newly minted Dr. Mohajeri Parizi enjoyed the ceremony and the celebration with his friends and family and wish him all the best of luck in his future career.