Evolutionary Game Theory
My research work in Evolutionary Game Theory has been strongly inspired by the pioneering work carried out by Sigmund and Nowak. In particular, I investigate whether the structure of the network of interactions can promote cooperative acts among selfish individuals. In this context each node of the network is an individual and a link represents a pairwise interaction through which the two agents play a 2-player game, e.g. the well-known Prisoner's Dilemma. I analyze cooperation levels when this system evolves according to deterministic or probabilistic rules. For instance, agents may change strategy according to myopic best-response or replicator dynamics, they can cut or create new links, they die out when a certain payoff is not achieved, or they generate new offsprings when they possess sufficient energy. In this framework, I have considered network topologies such as grids, random graphs, social network models, scale-free networks, and spatial networks.
My attention has been also caught by Network Science, with a particular focus on spatial networks. Recently, we have developed an energy-based model for spatial social networks, called REDS. I also investigated the properties of the Random Geometric Graph (RGG) model and its application to ad-hoc communication networks. Moreover, I have been able to discover a peculiar feature of this class of networks, i.e. they possess positive degree correlations that are constant according to the space topology in which networks are embedded. This work has been published in Physical Review E, 2012.
I am actively involved in research projects in which I study human subjects in controlled experiments when they take decisions which influence their monetary gain. In the laboratory people play specific games against all other participants linked to them. Their neighbors can be determined through a static or a dynamic network structure or by a spatial environment in which people can move around. This employment of human subjects in the laboratory is very interesting and particularly relevant to my research work because theoretical and numerical results can be confirmed or refused when people are involved instead of assuming rational or pseudo-rational agents. I have studied whether the network structure is relevant in the Stag Hunt game (PLoS ONE, 2013), the influence of the global information in spatial pure coordination games (Scientific Reports, 2014), and the importance of knowing your neighbor in the dynamic Prisoner's Dilemma game (PLoS ONE, 2014). Another experiment I did during my PhD research has considered for the first time in the field a spatial Prisoner's Dilemma on diluted grids and mobile players (Scientific Reports, 2015).
In the experimental laboratory (HEC-Labex) student participants interact among themselves and take decisions through computers