Information and decision-making in socio-biological multi-agent systems
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The objective of this thesis is to develop understanding of the role of information in multi-agent biological and social systems, and to identify ways the information can be influenced in order to produce a desirable outcome. These systems consist of a population of individual decision makers who wish to achieve a common goal. Individuals may only have access to a limited amount or certain types of information and hence make only partially informed decisions. We investigate the role information plays in three distinct systems that appear in biological and social contexts - 1) epidemic spreading in a population of aware individuals, 2) social dilemmas of cooperation, and 3) averting a tragedy of the commons. The operation of these systems depend on how information or incentives are distributed among the agents, and the decisions they make affecting the population-level welfare. We analyze their inherent behaviors and outline methods in which they can be influenced.