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FourCmodelling Report Summary

Project ID: 690817
Funded under: H2020-EU.1.3.3.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FourCmodelling (Conflict, Competition, Cooperation and Complexity: Using Evolutionary Game Theory to model realistic populations)

Reporting period: 2016-01-01 to 2017-12-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

"Real animals and human populations are complex, involving structural relationships depending upon space and time and varied interactions between potentially many individuals. Human societies feature family units, communities, companies and nations. Some animal also have complex societies, such as primate groups and social insect colonies. Single organisms themselves can be thought of as complex ecosystems, host to many interacting life forms.

Models of populations are necessarily idealised, and most involve either simple pairwise interactions or ""well-mixed"" structureless populations, or both. In this project we are developing game-theoretical models, both general and focused on specific real population scenarios, which incorporate population structure and within population interactions which are both complex in character. We focus on the themes of Conflict, Competition, Cooperation and Complexity inherent in the majority of real populations.

There are four complementary sub-projects within the overall project. The first focuses on developing a general theory of modelling multiplayer evolutionary games in structured populations, and feeds into each of the other three sub-projects. The second considers complex foraging games, in particular games under time constraints and involving sequential decisions relating to patch choice. The third involves modelling human social behaviours, a particular example being epidemic cascades on social networks. The final sub-project models cancer as a complex adaptive system, where a population of tumour, normal and immune cells evolve within a human ecosystem.

The four sub-projects are being developed in parallel fostered by frequent research visits and interactions, each involving a team comprising of EU and North American researchers, and feed into each other through regular interactions and meetings. The aim is to develop a rich, varied but consistent theory with wide applicability."

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The project has resulted in 28 publications by the end of 2017, covering the four core scientific themes of the project. In the subproject on modelling multiplayer evolutionary games in structured populations, we have completed the evolutionary dynamics work, made significant progress on the independence properties, strategic movement and incorporating realistic models work, and made some progress on the approximation methods and framework applicability work. For the complex foraging games subproject, we have completed the two-strategy symmetric games work, and made significant progress on the asymmetric time constraints work, the multi-strategy work and the time constraints in complex systems work. For the subproject on modelling human social behaviours, we have completed the work on the analysis of networks-of-traces, made significant progress on the node importance under uncertainty, and made some progress on the visualisation tool enabling analysis. For the subproject on the modelling of cancer as a complex adaptive system, we have completed the group effects model work and made significant progress on the modelling tumour heterogeneity work and modelling multiple treatments work, we have made some progress on the adaptive therapy and integration with other work packages work.

These works were developed from a series of secondments that happened in 2016 and 2017, with further ones in progress or occurring within the next few months. We have held three workshops associated with the project; the first two in 2016 in Plon, Germany and in Prague, and the third in 2017 in London. Each workshop consisted of a mixture of talks, training and research discussion sessions. A further workshop will happen in Turin in July 2018. At this we shall continue the themes of the previous workshops, and particular further develop the work connecting the four different themes.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The project has developed a number of novel research methodologies, in particular on the consideration of complex population/ relationship structures including neighbourhood characterizations and evolutionary dynamics, on modelling tumours as heterogeneous populations and on the modelling of interactions within populations with time delays. These key developments, and related work, have been the subject of talks at a series of conferences and workshops (so far over 50 events) and have been disseminated in various other ways, including on our website, social media and training events.

Immediate scientific impact has come from work including two extensive handbook chapters on game theoretical modelling and the work on the influence of social networks. Later impact will come from a variety of areas, including work on novel evolutionary dynamics and on time-delay models including with regard to complex foraging and food-stealing. Potential socio-economic and scientific impact may arise out of the each of the themes, but especially from the theme on the evolutionary modelling of cancer; for example initial results on therapy resistance are potentially important.
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