This model is designed to be a test-bed – an artificial ecology – into which agents representing humans and their society can be introduced, in order to explore how the arrival of such humans can affect this. This test-bed needs to be sufficiently complex and dynamic so that this forms a robust test, in particular it should:
• Have an energy economy, so that predators (herbivores, predators etc.) dynamically impact upon each other;
• Allow the food-chain to dynamically change and develop;
• Explicitly represent space so as to allow the emergence and spread of new species (invasive and mutations);
• Not predetermine the species composition but allow this to co-emerge with other species and the environment.
In this, entities (plants, herbivores and predators), are represented as individual objects. They inhabit one of a number of patches arranged in a 2D pattern that makes up the world. Each patch is well mixed so that interactions within that patch are random, but there is a probability that each individual can migrate. The world is wrapped vertically and horizontally. A fixed matrix of random numbers are used to determine the dominance of kinds of entity against other kinds of entity/patch.
Notable features that emerge from this model include that:
• It can produce ecologies with plausible food webs.
• The fundamental interactions in the model are emergent and can continually change in time and space.
• The model creates endogenous shocks on its own, with new species appearing to sometimes-catastrophic effect on the existing food chains.
• Mutation and migration happen in parallel, so that new species often appear before previous species have been completely spread over the space
• The system is highly adaptive in the sense that the distribution of species and their composition evolves things change.
• There are a number of different kinds of world state that can arise and persist for a while.
Public Version 1.4