Effects of noise and uncertainty on decision making, evolutionary games and ecological communities

Lead Research Organisation: University of Manchester
Department Name: Physics and Astronomy


Traditional models of evolutionary systems are frequently formulated in terms of deterministic differential equations, with fixed coefficients and in which the effects of interactions are instantaneous. This approach neglects the effects of uncertainty, intrinsic noise, and delay. At the same time, noise is known to have strong effects in many evolutionary systems, especially when the evolving population is small. Interaction coefficients in ecological communities are frequently not known, generating uncertainty. Delay in the effects of reactions arise for example in the context of gestational periods, or when rewards from actions in a game are only paid out at a later time.

The aims of this thesis are: (i) to develop new mathematical approaches to systems with noise and uncertainty, (ii) to use and further develop tools from statistical physics to study the combined effects of delay and intrinsic noise in evolutionary games, (iii) to understand whether noisy sampling in iterated games can identify optimal strategies.



Laura Sidhom (Student)


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
EP/N509565/1 01/10/2016 30/09/2021
1877848 Studentship EP/N509565/1 18/09/2017 30/11/2021 Laura Sidhom
EP/R513131/1 01/10/2018 30/09/2023
1877848 Studentship EP/R513131/1 18/09/2017 30/11/2021 Laura Sidhom
Description We investigated how non-linear feedback can affect the stability of an ecosystem.
We found that non-linear feedback can increase the stability and diversity of an ecosystem, while changing the dependence of these attributes on certain model parameters.
This has applications to understanding ecosystems in nature.
Exploitation Route Biologists may be interested to investigate the presence and effect of non-linear feedback in real-life ecosystems and compare with our theoretical predictions.
Sectors Environment,Healthcare

URL https://journals.aps.org/pre/accepted/20078R68Wa91ff15e8b24629f3fa9a94d34ba83f3
Description Widening participation fellow 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Local
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact I regularly run a workshop for school children who come to visit the university to gain an insight.
My workshop introduces game theory and some of its applications such as behavioral evolution.
Many children find this interesting and we have a discussion on how game theory may apply to their social lives.
During the workshop, they write an algorithm to play a game, which also introduces them to programming.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017,2018,2019,2020