[Post-doc] Thibault Rafaillac

[Post-doc] Thibault Rafaillac: Co-design of participatory simulations of MAS models for multi-actor decision support

Post-doc cofunded by #DigitAg

Co-design of participatory simulations of MAS models for multi-actor decision support

My field of research is Human-Computer Interaction. I'm an engineer from the École Centrale de Marseille and KTH (Stockholm, Sweden), worked for 2 years as an R&D engineer in digital TV, obtained a PhD at the University of Lille, and worked for 3 years as a contract teacher-researcher at the École Centrale de Lyon.
My thesis at Inria Lille dealt with GUI programming tools for HMI researchers to facilitate innovation. Today, I'm working on graphical interfaces and visualizations coupled with multi-agent simulations, to support consultation between local stakeholders in contexts where pastoral practices are evolving. 
I'm particularly interested in the food sector because it's present in all the possible futures of today's transitions, and is therefore less inclined to take sides with a technocentric future. So it's precisely "digital for food" that motivates me. My contribution is to valorize the results of multi-agent simulations, for the needs of local stakeholders (e.g. farmers, elected representatives, associations). These tools are generally designed for specialists, and their interfaces are poorly adapted to the needs of other audiences. This work gives me practical experience of scientific interdisciplinarity, as well as the opportunity to devote time to the question of the role of IT and research in ecological transitions.

  • Starting date:  5 September 2022
  • Scientific field: Human-machine interaction
  • Funding: #DigitAg - Projet Pastofutur, DSCATT
  • Supervisors: Jacques Lasseur, UMR Selmet, Inrae et Jean-Pierre Müller, UMR Sens, Cirad
  • #DigitAg :  Axe 6 : Modélisation et simulation (systèmes de production agricole), Axe 2 : Innovations en agriculture numérique, Challenge 4 : Des productions animales durables, Challenge 8 : Développement agricole au Sud

Keywords: companion modeling; multi-actor co-design; sustainable management of pastoral territories; co-constructed interfaces

Abstract : Simulation models are increasingly used to help better understand the functioning of territories, to project their probable futures, to explore multiple sustainable management options and their possible impacts, and this according to a variety of perspectives carried by a variety of actors. Currently, most models are black boxes with parameters as inputs that describe both the functioning of the territory and the possible options, and time series of indicators as outputs, possibly spatialized, that allow visualizing the impact over time of the options taken. Moreover, the models are often limited to a small part of the functioning of the territory (plot, farm management, supply chain/sector) because integration at the scale of the territory implies hundreds of parameters and indicators, which brings a complexity that is difficult to manage. The use of simulation models is therefore confronted with the requirement of transparency so that the non-scientific actors understand the hypotheses made in the models, their functioning and the interactions between the different processes that take place in them, and with the requirement of usability in a multi-actor context, i.e. that each actor is provided with a view adapted to his objectives in terms of the options and indicators at his disposal. The objective of this project is therefore to design the methods and the technical means to surround existing models at the scale of the territory with computer tools and graphical interfaces allowing a variety of actors to understand their functioning and to have the means to explore a variety of scenarios (possible futures) and options (possible decisions) and to evaluate their impacts. This implies upstream the identification of the different actors concerned, their stakes and objectives and the knowledge they need, and downstream the implementation of tools for the manipulation and visualization of models adapted to their needs. The methods and tools developed will be involved in the governance platforms of territories in the North as well as in the South and will serve as a support for discussions between stakeholders on the future of their territories.

Modification date: 05 October 2023 | Publication date: 06 April 2023 | By: GL