Mixed Complementarity Modelling and Food Security: A New Food Systems Model from Johns Hopkins University

Time and location:

Thursday 21st April 2016, 3:00pm, Oxford Martin School Seminar Room 1, https://goo.gl/maps/7suTz7NcTep


Craig Bakker, Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering, John Hopkins University

Craig Bakker is a postdoctoral fellow within the Department of Geography and Environmental Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.  In 2011, he completed his BEng at the University of Victoria.  He majored in mechanical engineering, with a specialization in computer-aided engineering, and minored in mathematics.  In 2015, he completed his PhD in engineering at the University of Cambridge.  His doctoral research in optimization and systems engineering worked on developing a differential geometry framework for Multidisciplinary Design Optimization.  As a postdoctoral fellow, he is now working on applying a systems engineering perspective to the Food-Energy-Water nexus to investigate the effects of climate change mediated through that nexus; his current work is in food systems.


There is a need for well-constructed interdisciplinary models to investigate food security in the face of global climate change.  Current food models typically focus on cereal crops and their production.  There is a pressing need to consider other components of the food supply and other food commodities.  It is also important to capture the propagation of system shocks due to factors such as extreme weather events.  Microeconomic energy models, which result in Mixed Complementarity Problems (MCPs), have been successfully used in the past to capture energy production, transportation, transformation, use, prices, emissions, and regulation.  I am part of a multidisciplinary team at Johns Hopkins currently developing a microeconomic MCP model for food systems, and we are applying it to Ethiopia as an initial test case. 

I will be giving a presentation on our Ethiopia MCP food systems model.  Our model is designed to investigate food access and stability as well as production; to incorporate multiple food commodity types; to capture seasonal food security changes; and to integrate with energy, water, and demographic models.  We then intend to use our model to look at how climate change – especially extreme climate change – affects things like public health and regional stability.