Director Liz Archibald and senior modeller Ben Schumann were invited to a practitioner’s day at Lancaster University on March 9th to challenge a group of Management Science PhD students with a real business problem:
Due to population growth, water demand in the Greater London area will rise in the future. However, supply is bound to stay constant or reduce due to climate change. Reducing water demand is inherently difficult as means include advertisement and education campaigns. The effects of these strategies are very difficult to analyse and even harder to predict. Our client, a large water supply company, is interested in exploring alternative options to predict future water demand of their customers.
The students were asked to come up with an agent-based model that predicts future water demand including impacts from advertisement, campaigns and social interactions. With little background in modelling, Ben Schumann introduced agent-based modelling by playing an interactive game called Cat-on-yer-head. Footage of the game can be viewed here: Learning agent-based modelling by playing Cat-On-Yer-Head
The students enjoyed the interactive sessions and provided very useful modelling ideas at the end of the day. These will be applied when decisionLab discusses next steps with the client.