Dr Lewys Brace
Associate Lecturer in Data Analysis
As part of Exeter’s Q-Step Centre, I am responsible for the Pathways to Data Analytics programme. The aim of this programme is to offer the opportunity for students whose academic discipline is traditionally non-quantitative to develop an understanding of, and gain practical experience in, data analysis.
My research interests primarily lie in evolutionary simulation modelling; a broad sub-field of artificial life that focuses on how systems comprising of individual agents change over time as the result of some adaptive process. I tend to explore such issues with the aid of computational simulation. As an example, my PhD research involved looking at the social-cultural evolutionary process of iterated learning through agent-based modelling (ABM).
Iterated learning takes place when the input into a particular individual's learning process is itself the output of another individual's learning process. This is an important feature to capture when investigating human language change, or the dynamics of culturally learned behaviours in general. By developing a number of computational simulations, I not only demonstrated that this process has a significant impact upon eventual linguistic form, but that it is also significantly affected by the interconnectivity of the linguistic community. The key finding of this work was that immature language users cause linguistic change at a much higher rate, through the refinement-like process of iterated learning, when they learn their language from multiple mature language users.