Computational Model Library

Substitution of food products will be key to realising widespread adoption of sustainable diets. We present an agent-based model of decision-making and influences on food choice, and apply it to historically observed trends of British whole and skimmed (including semi) milk consumption from 1974 to 2005. We aim to give a plausible representation of milk choice substitution, and test different mechanisms of choice consideration. Agents are consumers that perceive information regarding the two milk choices, and hold values that inform their position on the health and environmental impact of those choices. Habit, social influence and post-decision evaluation are modelled. Representative survey data on human values and long-running public concerns empirically inform the model. An experiment was run to compare two model variants by how they perform in reproducing these trends. This was measured by recording mean weekly milk consumption per person. The variants differed in how agents became disposed to consider alternative milk choices. One followed a threshold approach, the other was probability based. All other model aspects remained unchanged. An optimisation exercise via an evolutionary algorithm was used to calibrate the model variants independently to observed data. Following calibration, uncertainty and global variance-based temporal sensitivity analysis were conducted. Both model variants were able to reproduce the general pattern of historical milk consumption, however, the probability-based approach gave a closer fit to the observed data, but over a wider range of uncertainty. This responds to, and further highlights, the need for research that looks at, and compares, different models of human decision-making in agent-based and simulation models. This study is the first to present an agent-based modelling of food choice substitution in the context of British milk consumption. It can serve as a valuable pre-curser to the modelling of dietary shift and sustainable product substitution to plant-based alternatives in Britain.

At the heart of a study of Social-Ecological Systems, this model is built by coupling together two independently developed models of social and ecological phenomena. The social component of the model is an abstract model of interactions of a governing agent and several user agents, where the governing agent aims to promote a particular behavior among the user agents. The ecological model is a spatial model of spread of the Mountain Pine Beetle in the forests of British Columbia, Canada. The coupled model allowed us to simulate various hypothetical management scenarios in a context of forest insect infestations. The social and ecological components of this model are developed in two different environments. In order to establish the connection between those components, this model is equipped with a ‘FlipFlop’ - a structure of storage directories and communication protocols which allows each of the models to process its inputs, send an output message to the other, and/or wait for an input message from the other, when necessary. To see the publications associated with the social and ecological components of this coupled model please see the References section.

Peer reviewed Lethal Geometry

Kristin Crouse | Published Fri Feb 21 11:27:16 2020 | Last modified Wed Dec 15 02:42:30 2021

LethalGeometry was developed to examine whether territory size influences the mortality risk for individuals within that territory. For animals who live in territoral groups and are lethally aggressive, we can expect that most aggression occurs along the periphery (or border) between two adjacent territories. For territories that are relatively large, the periphery makes up a proportionately small amount of the of the total territory size, suggesting that individuals in these territories might be less likely to die from these territorial skirmishes. LethalGeometry examines this geometric relationship between territory size and mortality risk under realistic assumptions of variable territory size and shape, variable border width, and stochastic interactions and movement.

The individuals (agents) are programmed to walk randomly about their environment, search for and eat food to obtain energy, reproduce if they can, and act aggressively toward individuals of other groups. During each simulation step, individuals analyze their environment and internal state to determine which actions to take. The actions available to individuals include moving, fighting, and giving birth.

Prisoner's Tournament

Kristin Crouse | Published Wed Nov 6 05:39:54 2019 | Last modified Wed Dec 15 02:39:43 2021

This model replicates the Axelrod prisoner’s dilemma tournaments. The model takes as input a file of strategies and pits them against each other to see who achieves the best payoff in the end. Change the payoff structure to see how it changes the tournament outcome!

The Hawk-Dove Game

Kristin Crouse | Published Tue Nov 5 04:51:09 2019

This model simulates the Hawk-Dove game as first described by John Maynard Smith, and further elaborated by Richard Dawkins in “The Selfish Gene”. In the game, two strategies, Hawks and Doves, compete against each other, and themselves, for reproductive benefits. A third strategy can be introduced, Retaliators, which act like either Hawks or Doves, depending on the context.

Fertility Tradeoffs

Kristin Crouse | Published Tue Nov 5 04:36:42 2019 | Last modified Sun Mar 22 09:45:14 2020

Fertility Tradeoffs is a NetLogo model that illustrates the emergencent tradeoffs between the quality and quantity of offspring. Often, we associate high fitness with maximizing the number of offspring. However, under certain circumstances, it pays instead to optimize the number of offspring, having fewer offspring than is possible. When the number of offspring is reduced, more energy can be invested in each offspring, which can have fitness benefits.

Peer reviewed Vigilant sharing in a small-scale society

MARCOS PINHEIRO | Published Wed Jul 22 01:40:09 2020 | Last modified Wed Jul 29 02:03:28 2020

The model explores food distribution patterns that emerge in a small-scale non-agricultural group when sharing individuals engage in intentional consumption leveling with a given probability.

MELBIS-V1 is a spatially explicit agent-based model that allows the geospatial simulation of the decision-making process of newcomers arriving in the bilingual cities and boroughs of the island of Montreal, Quebec in CANADA, and the resulting urban segregation spatial patterns. The model was implemented in NetLogo, using geospatial raster datasets of 120m spatial resolution.

MELBIS-V2 enhances MELBIS-V1 to implement and simulate the decision-making processes of incoming immigrants, and to analyze the resulting spatial patterns of segregation as immigrants arrive and settle in various cities in Canada. The arrival and segregation of immigrants is modeled with MELBIS-V2 and compared for three major Canadian immigration gateways, including the City of Toronto, Metro Vancouver, and the City of Calgary.

Peer reviewed Dynamic Value-based Cognitive Architectures

Bart de Bruin | Published Tue Nov 30 20:29:58 2021

The intention of this model is to create an universal basis on how to model change in value prioritizations within social simulation. This model illustrates the designing of heterogeneous populations within agent-based social simulations by equipping agents with Dynamic Value-based Cognitive Architectures (DVCA-model). The DVCA-model uses the psychological theories on values by Schwartz (2012) and character traits by McCrae and Costa (2008) to create an unique trait- and value prioritization system for each individual. Furthermore, the DVCA-model simulates the impact of both social persuasion and life-events (e.g. information, experience) on the value systems of individuals by introducing the innovative concept of perception thermometers. Perception thermometers, controlled by the character traits, operate as buffers between the internal value prioritizations of agents and their external interactions. By introducing the concept of perception thermometers, the DVCA-model allows to study the dynamics of individual value prioritizations under a variety of internal and external perturbations over extensive time periods. Possible applications are the use of the DVCA-model within artificial sociality, opinion dynamics, social learning modelling, behavior selection algorithms and social-economic modelling.

Information Spread

Aaron Beck | Published Thu Dec 2 00:04:58 2021

Our model shows how disinformation spreads on a random network of individuals. The network is weighted and directed. We are looking at how different factors affect how fast, or how many people get “infected” with the misinformation. One of the main factors that we were curious about was perceived trustworthiness. This is because we want to see if people of power, or a high degree of perceived trustworthiness, were able to push misinformation to more people and convert more people to believe the information.

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