Research Projects

The Vici project 'Cognitive systems in interaction:
Logical and computational models of higher-order social cognition'

Software agents are capable of recursion in their social reasoning: A thinks about what B knows, about what B thinks that A knows, and so on. However, humans lose track of such reasoning after only two or three levels. If software agents work together with human team-mates, they need to take into account the limits of their social cognition.

In the Vici project, we investigate children's development and adults' limitations in applying higher-order reasoning, using a close-knit combination of empirical research and formal modelling. Whereas first-order social cognition has been intensely investigated, higher-order social cognition is far less well-understood. This Vici project aims to apply improved understanding of higher-order social reasoning to design realistic logics, ready for implementation in systems supporting mixed human-computer teams.

Link to the project website

The NWO Physical Sciences Free Competition project
'STRATMAS. Strategies in multi-agent systems: From implicit to implementable'

Modelling intelligent and rational interaction in multi-agent systems has been one of the main issues in Artificial Intelligence that gained momentum in the last decade of the past century. The 'agents' under discussion mainly referred autonomous actors like software programs, robots and even humans. Interaction among them can be cooperative as well as non-cooperative.

This is now merging into broader studies of formal models of society, where computer science meets decision theory, game theory, and social choice theory, for instance in the study of rational deliberation and decision making. One connection that has been made here is 'social software', an interesting perspective, but as yet without a complete theory. There is a number of detailed studies of agents' knowledge, beliefs, preferences, and also of their long-term powers for influencing the outcomes of games. But we do not have a good theory of what may be the most crucial ingredient here: the plans or strategies that information-processing agents have for achieving these goals. In other words, their know-how in addition to their know-that. This is the main topic of this research program.

link to the project website


I’ve also been a participant in the following two research projects:

2017-2020: External advisor on the ERC Marie Curie project DYCODE: The Dynamics of Constructive Deliberation. Applicants Frederik van de Putte and Olivier Roy,

2012-2017: Substitute management team member of EU COST Action COMSOC: Computational Social Choice. Applicant Ulle Endriss.

Rineke Verbrugge 2023