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.

The Urban Traffic Simulator is an agent-based model developed in the Unity platform. The model allows the user to simulate several autonomous vehicles (AVs) and tune granular parameters such as vehicle downforce, adherence to speed limits, top speed in mph and mass. The model allows researchers to tune these parameters, run the simulator for a given period and export data from the model for analysis (an example is provided in Jupyter Notebook).

The data the model is currently able to output are the following:

MCA-SdA (ABM of mining-community-aquifer interactions in Salar de Atacama, Chile)

Wenjuan Liu | Published Tue Dec 1 19:30:17 2020 | Last modified Thu Nov 4 18:10:42 2021

This model represnts an unique human-aquifer interactions model for the Li-extraction in Salar de Atacama, Chile. It describes the local actors’ experience of mining-induced changes in the socio-ecological system, especially on groundwater changes and social stressors. Social interactions are designed specifically according to a long-term local fieldwork by Babidge et al. (2019, 2020). The groundwater system builds on the FlowLogo model by Castilla-Rho et al. (2015), which was then parameterized and calibrated with local hydrogeological inputs in Salar de Atacama, Chile. The social system of the ABM is defined and customozied based on empirical studies to reflect three major stressors: drought stress, population stress, and mining stress. The model reports evolution of groundwater changes and associated social stress dynamics within the modeled time frame.

Plastics and the pollution caused by their waste have always been a menace to both nature and humans. With the continual increase in plastic waste, the contamination due to plastic has stretched to the oceans. Many plastics are being drained into the oceans and rose to accumulate in the oceans. These plastics have seemed to form large patches of debris that keep floating in the oceans over the years. Identification of the plastic debris in the ocean is challenging and it is essential to clean plastic debris from the ocean. We propose a simple tool built using the agent-based modeling framework NetLogo. The tool uses ocean currents data and plastic data both being loaded using GIS (Geographic Information System) to simulate and visualize the movement of floatable plastic and debris in the oceans. The tool can be used to identify the plastic debris that has been piled up in the oceans. The tool can also be used as a teaching aid in classrooms to bring awareness about the impact of plastic pollution. This tool could additionally assist people to realize how a small plastic chunk discarded can end up as large debris drifting in the oceans. The same tool might help us narrow down the search area while looking out for missing cargo and wreckage parts of ships or flights. Though the tool does not pinpoint the location, it might help in reducing the search area and might be a rudimentary alternative for more computationally expensive models.

This is a basic Susceptible, Infected, Recovered (SIR) model. This model explores the spread of disease in a space. In particular, it explores how changing assumptions about the number of susceptible people, starting number of infected people, as well as the disease’s infection probability, and average duration of infection. The model shows that the interactions of agents can drastically affect the results of the model.

We used it in our course on COVID-19:

This is an extension of the basic Suceptible, Infected, Recovered (SIR) model. This model explores the spread of disease in two spaces, one a treatment, and one a control. Through the modeling options, one can explore how changing assumptions about the number of susceptible people, starting number of infected people, the disease’s infection probability, and average duration impacts the outcome. In addition, this version allows users to explore how public health interventions like social distancing, masking, and isolation can affect the number of people infected. The model shows that the interactions of agents, and the interventions can drastically affect the results of the model.

We used the model in our course about COVID-19:

The agent-based model WEEM (Woodlot Establishment and Expansion Model) as described in the journal article, has been designed to make use of household socio-demographics (household status, birth, and death events of households), to better understand the temporal dynamics of woodlot in the buffer zones of Budongo protected forest reserve, Masindi district, Uganda. The results contribute to a mechanistic understanding of what determines the current gap between intention and actual behavior in forest land restoration at farm level.

CINCH1 (Covid-19 INfection Control in Hospitals)

N Gotts | Published Sun Aug 29 13:13:03 2021

CINCH1 (Covid-19 INfection Control in Hospitals), is a prototype model of physical distancing for infection control among staff in University College London Hospital during the Covid-19 pandemic, developed at the University of Leeds, School of Geography. It models the movement of collections of agents in simple spaces under conflicting motivations of reaching their destination, maintaining physical distance from each other, and walking together with a companion. The model incorporates aspects of the Capability, Opportunity and Motivation of Behaviour (COM-B) Behaviour Change Framework developed at University College London Centre for Behaviour Change, and is aimed at informing decisions about behavioural interventions in hospital and other workplace settings during this and possible future outbreaks of highly contagious diseases. CINCH1 was developed as part of the SAFER (SARS-CoV-2 Acquisition in Frontline Health Care Workers – Evaluation to Inform Response) project
(, funded by the UK Medical Research Council. It is written in Python 3.8, and built upon Mesa version 0.8.7 (copyright 2020 Project Mesa Team).

The purpose of the model is to explore the influence of the design of circular business models (CBMs) on CBM viability. The model represents an Industrial Symbiosis Network (ISN) in which a processor uses the organic waste from suppliers to produce biogas and nutrient rich digestate for local reuse. CBM viability is expressed as value captured (e.g., cash flow/tonne waste/agent) and the survival of the network over time (shown in the interface).

In the model, the value captured is calculated relative to the initial state, using incineration costs as a benchmark. Moderating variables are interactions with the waste incinerator and actor behaviour factors. Actors may leave the network when the waste supply for local production is too low, or when personal economic benefits are too low. When the processor decides to leave, the network fails. Theory of planned behaviour can be used to include agent behaviour in the simulations.

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