Sean Collins - Home page

Emeritus Professor of Applied Probability

Telephone: +44 (0) 117 928 7977

Professor E J Collins,
Department of Mathematics,
University of Bristol, Bristol, BS8 1TW, UK

School Home Page


My research interests are in the theory of Markov decision processes, game theory and reinforcement learning, and applications of these areas to problems in queuing theory and behavioural ecology.

Some recent papers include:

  1. E. J. Collins, (2015) 'Models and algorithms for skip-free Markov decision processes on trees'. Journal of the Operational Research Society 66, 1595–1604. (Abstract).

  2. T. Larsen, D. S. Leslie, E. J. Collins, R. Bogacz, (2010) 'Posterior weighted reinforcement learning with state uncertainty'. Neural Computation 22, 1149–1179. (Abstract)

  3. C. Cotar, J. M. McNamara, E. J. Collins, A. I. Houston, (2008) 'Should females prefer to mate with low-quality males?'. Journal of Theoretical Biology 254, 561–567. (Abstract)

  4. R. Groß, A. I. Houston, E. J. Collins, J. M. McNamara, F.-X. Dechaume-Moncharmont, N. R. Franks, (2008) 'Simple learning rules to cope with changing environments'. J. R. Soc. Interface 5, 1193–1202. (Abstract)

  5. A. Dornhaus, E. J. Collins, F.-X. Dechaume-Moncharmont, A. I. Houston, N. R. Franks, J. M. McNamara, (2006) 'Paying for information: partial loads in central place foragers'. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 61, 151-161. (Abstract)

  6. E. J. Collins, A.I Houston and J. M. McNamara, 'The value of information in central-place foraging'. Research report. [pdf] (Abstract)

  7. H. W. James and E. J. Collins, (2006) 'An analysis of transient Markov decision processes'. Journal of Applied Probability, 43, 603-621. (Abstract)

  8. E. J. Collins J. M. McNamara and D. M. Ramsey, (2006) 'Learning rules for optimal selection in a varying environment: mate choice revisited'. Behavioral Ecology, 17, 799-809. (Abstract)

  9. D.S. Leslie & E.J. Collins, (2006), 'Generalised weakened fictitious play'. Games and Economic Behavior, 56, 285-298. (Abstract)

  10. F.-X. Dechaume-Moncharmont, A. Dornhaus, A. I. Houston, J. M. McNamara, E. J. Collins & N. R. Franks, (2005), 'The hidden cost of information in collective foraging'. Proc. Roy. Soc., Series B, 272, 1689-1695. (Abstract)

  11. D.S. Leslie & E.J. Collins, (2005), 'Individual Q-learning in normal form games'. SIAM Journal On Control and Optimization, 44, 495-514. (Abstract)

  12. D.S. Leslie & E.J. Collins, (2003), 'Convergent multiple-timescales reinforcement learning algorithms in normal form games'. Annals of Applied Probability,13, 1231-1251. (Abstract)

  13. E.J. Collins, A.I. Houston & A. Lang,(2002), 'The ideal free distribution: an analysis of the perceptual limit model'. Evolutionary Ecology Research, 4, 471-493. (Abstract)

  14. J.M. McNamara, A.I. Houston and E.J. Collins, (2001), 'Optimality Models in Behavioural Biology', SIAM Review, 43, 413-466. (Abstract)