Computational Model Library

This model simulates the form and function of an idealised estuary with associated barrier-spit complex on the north east coast of New Zealand’s North Island (from Bream Bay to central Bay of Plenty) during the years 2010 - 2050 CE. It combines variables from social, ecological and geomorphic systems to simulate potential directions of change in shallow coastal systems in response to external forcing from land use, climate, pollution, population density, demographics, values and beliefs. The estuary is over 1000Ha, making it a large estuary according to Hume et al. (2007) - there are 12 large estuaries in the Auckland region alone (Suyadi et al., 2019). The model was developed as part of Andrew Allison’s PhD Thesis in Geography from the School of Environment and Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland, New Zealand. The model setup allows for alteration of geomorphic, ecological and social variables to suit the specific conditions found in various estuaries along the north east coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
This model is not a predictive or forecasting model. It is designed to investigate potential directions of change in complex shallow coastal systems. This model must not be used for any purpose other than as a heuristic to facilitate researcher and stakeholder learning and for developing system understanding (as per Allison et al., 2018).

Schelling famously proposed an extremely simple but highly illustrative social mechanism to understand how strong ethnic segregation could arise in a world where individuals do not necessarily want it. Schelling’s simple computational model is the starting point for our extensions in which we build upon Wilensky’s original NetLogo implementation of this model. Our two NetLogo models can be best studied while reading our chapter “Agent-based Computational Models” (Flache and de Matos Fernandes, 2021 [forthcoming]). In the chapter, we propose 10 best practices to elucidate how agent-based models are a unique method for providing and analyzing formally precise, and empirically plausible mechanistic explanations of puzzling social phenomena, such as segregation, in the social world. Our chapter addresses in particular analytical sociologists who are new to ABMs.

In the first model (SegregationExtended), we build on Wilensky’s implementation of Schelling’s model which is available in NetLogo library (Wilensky, 1997). We considerably extend this model, allowing in particular to include larger neighborhoods and a population with four groups roughly resembling the ethnic composition of a contemporary large U.S. city. Further features added concern the possibility to include random noise, and the addition of a number of new outcome measures tuned to highlight macro-level implications of the segregation dynamics for different groups in the agent society.

In SegregationDiscreteChoice, we further modify the model incorporating in particular three new features: 1) heterogeneous preferences roughly based on empirical research categorizing agents into low, medium, and highly tolerant within each of the ethnic subgroups of the population, 2) we drop global thresholds (%-similar-wanted) and introduce instead a continuous individual-level single-peaked preference function for agents’ ideal neighborhood composition, and 3) we use a discrete choice model according to which agents probabilistically decide whether to move to a vacant spot or stay in the current spot by comparing the attractiveness of both locations based on the individual preference functions.

Schelling and Sakoda prominently proposed computational models suggesting that strong ethnic residential segregation can be the unintended outcome of a self-reinforcing dynamic driven by choices of individuals with rather tolerant ethnic preferences. There are only few attempts to apply this view to school choice, another important arena in which ethnic segregation occurs. In the current paper, we explore with an agent-based theoretical model similar to those proposed for residential segregation, how ethnic tolerance among parents can affect the level of school segregation. More specifically, we ask whether and under which conditions school segregation could be reduced if more parents hold tolerant ethnic preferences. We move beyond earlier models of school segregation in three ways. First, we model individual school choices using a random utility discrete choice approach. Second, we vary the pattern of ethnic segregation in the residential context of school choices systematically, comparing residential maps in which segregation is unrelated to parents’ level of tolerance to residential maps reflecting their ethnic preferences. Third, we introduce heterogeneity in tolerance levels among parents belonging to the same group. Our simulation experiments suggest that ethnic school segregation can be a very robust phenomenon, occurring even when about half of the population prefers mixed to segregated schools. However, we also identify a “sweet spot” in the parameter space in which a larger proportion of tolerant parents makes the biggest difference. This is the case when parents have moderate preferences for nearby schools and there is only little residential segregation. Further experiments are presented that unravel the underlying mechanisms.

Peer reviewed MigrAgent

Rocco Paolillo Wander Jager | Published Fri Oct 5 09:59:44 2018 | Last modified Wed Nov 28 14:03:41 2018

MigrAgent simulates migration flows of a population from a home country to a host country and mutual adaptation of a migrant and local population post-migration. Agents accept interactions in intercultural networks depending on their degree of conservatism. Conservatism is a group-level parameter normally distributed within each ethnic group. Individual conservatism changes as function of reciprocity of interaction in intergroup experiences of acceptance or rejection.

The aim of MigrAgent is to unfold different outcomes of integration, assimilation, separation and marginalization in terms of networks as effect of different degrees of conservatism in each group and speed of migration flows.

The model is a combination of a spatially explicit, stochastic, agent-based model for wild boars (Sus scrofa L.) and an epidemiological model for the Classical Swine Fever (CSF) virus infecting the wild boars.

The original model (Kramer-Schadt et al. 2009) was used to assess intrinsic (system immanent host-pathogen interaction and host life-history) and extrinsic (spatial extent and density) factors contributing to the long-term persistence of the disease and has further been used to assess the effects of intrinsic dynamics (Lange et al. 2012a) and indirect transmission (Lange et al. 2016) on the disease course. In an applied context, the model was used to test the efficiency of spatiotemporal vaccination regimes (Lange et al. 2012b) as well as the risk of disease spread in the country of Denmark (Alban et al. 2005).

References: See ODD model description.

The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain formed an important habitat exploited by Pleistocene hunter-gatherer populations during periods of lower sea level. This productive, grassy habitat would have supported numerous large-bodied ungulates accessible to a population of skilled hunters with the right hunting technology. It also provided a potentially rich location for plant food collection, and along its shores a coastline that moved with the rise and fall of sea levels. The rich archaeological and paleontological records of Pleistocene sites along the modern Cape south coast of South Africa, which would have overlooked the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain during Pleistocene times of lower sea level, provides a paleoarchive of this extinct ecosystem. In this paper, we present a first order illustration of the “palaeoscape modeling” approach advocated by Marean et al. (2015). We use a resourcescape model created from modern studies of habitat productivity without the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain. This is equivalent to predominant Holocene conditions. We then run an agent-based model of the human foraging system to investigate several research questions. Our agent-based approach uses the theoretical framework of optimal foraging theory to model human foraging decisions designed to optimize the net caloric gains within a complex landscape of spatially and temporally variable resources. We find that during the high sea-levels of MIS 5e (+5-6 m asl) and the Holocene, the absence of the Plain left a relatively poor food base supporting a much smaller population relying heavily on edible plant resources from the current Cape flora. Despite high species diversity of plants with edible storage organs, and marine invertebrates, encounter rates with highly profitable resources were low. We demonstrate that without the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain, human populations must have been small and low density, and exploited plant, mammal, and marine resources with relatively low caloric returns. The exposure and contraction of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain was likely the single biggest driver of behavioral change during periods of climate change through the Pleistocene and into the transition to the Holocene.

Exploring homeowners' insulation activity

Jonas Friege Emile Chappin Georg Holtz | Published Mon Jun 1 08:34:32 2015 | Last modified Mon Apr 8 20:38:19 2019

We built an agent-based model to foster the understanding of homeowners’ insulation activity.

Previous work with the spatial iterated prisoner’s dilemma has shown that “walk away” cooperators are able to outcompete defectors as well as cooperators that do not respond to defection, but it remains to be seen just how robust the so-called walk away strategy is to ecologically important variables such as population density, error, and offspring dispersal. Our simulation experiments identify socio-ecological conditions in which natural selection favors strategies that emphasize forgiveness over flight in the spatial iterated prisoner’s dilemma. Our interesting results are best explained by considering how population density, error, and offspring dispersal affect the opportunity cost associated with walking away from an error-prone partner.

This study investigates a possible nexus between inter-group competition and intra-group cooperation, which may be called “tribalism.” Building upon previous studies demonstrating a relationship between the environment and social relations, the present research incorporates a social-ecological model as a mediating factor connecting both individuals and communities to the environment. Cyclical and non-cyclical fluctuation in a simple, two-resource ecology drive agents to adopt either “go-it-alone” or group-based survival strategies via evolutionary selection. Novelly, this simulation employs a multilevel selection model allowing group-level dynamics to exert downward selective pressures on individuals’ propensity to cooperate within groups. Results suggest that cooperation and inter-group conflict are co-evolved in a triadic relationship with the environment. Resource scarcity increases inter-group competition, especially when resources are clustered as opposed to widely distributed. Moreover, the tactical advantage of cooperation in the securing of clustered resources enhanced selective pressure on cooperation, even if that implies increased individual mortality for the most altruistic warriors. Troubling, these results suggest that extreme weather, possibly as a result of climate change, could exacerbate conflict in sensitive, weather-dependent social-ecologies—especially places like the Horn of Africa where ecologically sensitive economic modalities overlap with high-levels of diversity and the wide-availability of small arms. As well, global development and foreign aid strategists should consider how plans may increase the value of particular locations where community resources are built or aid is distributed, potentially instigating tribal conflict. In sum, these factors, interacting with pre-existing social dynamics dynamics, may heighten inter-ethnic or tribal conflict in pluralistic but otherwise peaceful communities.

For special issue submission in JASSS.

The model explores the relationship between ethnic density and health. It does this through exploring the potential pathway between racism, segregation, area deprivation and income.

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