Current Projects

Managing Real‐time Interventions in Smart Buildings: Learning to Influence People’s Behavior

  • Funding Body: Siemens
  • Amount: $340,000
  • Period: 2012-2014
  • Principal Investigators:
  • Other Team Members
    • Sohan DSouza, Research Engineer
    • Alex Rutherford, Research Fellow
    • Fatimah Modupe Ishowo-Oloko, PhD student

This project will identify novel interventions for smart buildings, and study the impact that these intervention strategies have on inhabitants of smart buildings. We will then study the ability of people to create various forms of interventions in real-time systems consisting of many autonomous adapting agents.

Internet-Mediated Social Mobilization for Promoting Sustainable Behavior

  • Funding Body: Masdar Institute of Science of Technology, UAE
  • Amount: $104,333
  • Period: 2012-2013
  • Principal Investigators:
  • Other Team Members
    • Nicolas Stefanovitch, research fellow

This project will devise novel incentive mechanisms that enable an interested party to promote a sustainable technology or behavior through a social network. It will build on the recent successes demonstrated by viral marketing schemes, and the recursive incentive mechanism that won the DARPA Network Challenge .

Influencing Collective Human Behavior Using Distributed Intelligent Systems

  • Funding Body: Masdar Institute of Science of Technology, UAE
  • Amount: US$600,000
  • Period: 2010-2012
  • Principal Investigators:
  • Other Team Members
    • Dr. Alex Rutherford
    • Sohan D'souza
  • Other Students
    • Aamena Alshamsi, PhD student, Masdar Institute

Inducing peer pressure to reduce energy consumption
Research Pressure

This project will develop intelligent distributed software that can influence collective human behavior, to help people use resources more efficiently. We aim to explicitly exploit the structure of the social network in order to effect behavior change. The project will involve theoretical analysis of incentive structures over social networks, as well as empirical testing of incentive mechanisms using real-time sociometric sensing and mobile intervention technologies.

Past Projects

An Experimental Platform for Argumentation

  • Funding Body: British University in Dubai
  • Amount: $12,800
  • Period: 2009-2010
  • Chief Investigator:
    • Dr. Iyad Rahwan, of the British University in Dubai
  • Co-Investigator:
  • Other Collaborators:
  • Students:
    • Sohan D'souza, British University in Dubai

The purpose of this project is to build a software platform for studying argumentation behavior and building programs that can persuade humans. The platform takes the form of a two-player computer game, where each player can be either a computer program or a human. The game enable researchers to rapidly specify argumentation protocols and to conduct experiments (with human participants, or mixed human and software players) in order to understand the interaction dynamics and outcomes under different protocols.

Computational Modelling of Argument on the Semantic Web

  • Funding Body: British University in Dubai
  • Amount: $9,500
  • Period: 2008-2009
  • Chief Investigator:
    • Dr. Iyad Rahwan, of the British University in Dubai
  • Visiting Research Fellow:
    • Dr. Fernando Tohme, Universidad Nacional del Sur, Argentina
  • Other Collaborators:
  • Students:
    • Bita Banihashemi, MSc Student, British University in Dubai
    • Fouad Zablith, MSc Student, British University in Dubai

Recently, an increasing number of Web applications provide specific support for large-scale social argumentation. Two key challenges need to be met for such systems to be of practical use: (1) designing rich computational methods for capturing arguments and performing automated reasoning with arguments (e.g. intelligent search for arguments); (2) understanding the strategic issues among arguers with a view to designing better 'debate rules'. This project addresses both issues through theoretical work and system implementation.

Interest-Based Negotiation: Theory and Practice


The project builds on prior work from Iyad Rahwan's PhD concerning a novel form of automated negotiation - interest-based negotiation - where participants (software agents) exchange arguments about their goals and desires during a structured dialogue. The primary focus of this project is to refine the negotiation framework and to evaluate its theoretical properties.

Investigating the Readiness for Electronic Commerce in the GCC Region

  • Funding Body: Tejari, the Middle East's online marketplace
  • Amount: US$5,890
  • Period: May-June 2006
  • Chief Investigator:
    • Dr. Iyad Rahwan

Automated Interaction Technologies for Mobile Hand-held Devices


This project is concerned with developing intelligent technologies that support human interaction through handheld devices, connected to wireless digital networks. Intelligent software assistants running on these devices will interact with one another in order to coordinate the activities of multiple users. Such automated coordination may facilitate scheduling of meetings, collaboration among different members of a team, and negotiating conflicts that may arise between the activities of different connected users. This will enable context-dependent task support and coordination of workers involved in industrial applications involving mobility and dynamism.