Computational Model Library

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). 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.

Spatial rangeland model

Marco Janssen | Published Tue Jan 22 01:51:09 2019 | Last modified Fri Mar 4 23:21:53 2022

Spatial explicit model of a rangeland system, based on Australian conditions, where grass, woody shrubs and fire compete fore resources. Overgrazing can cause the system to flip from a healthy state to an unproductive shrub state. With the model one can explore the consequences of different movement rules of the livestock on the resilience of the system.

The model is discussed in Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling by Marco Janssen. For more information see

This model was created to investigate the potential impacts of large-scale recreational and transport-related physical activity promotion strategies on six United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) related outcomes—road traffic deaths (SDG 3), transportation mode share (SDG 9), convenient access to public transport, levels of fine particulate matter, and access to public open spaces (SDG 11), and levels of carbon dioxide emissions (SDG 13)—in three cities designed as abstract representations of common city types in high-, middle-, and low-income countries.

Motivated by the emergence of new Peer-to-Peer insurance organizations that rethink how insurance is organized, we propose a theoretical model of decision-making in risk-sharing arrangements with risk heterogeneity and incomplete information about the risk distribution as core features. For these new, informal organisations, the available institutional solutions to heterogeneity (e.g., mandatory participation or price differentiation) are either impossible or undesirable. Hence, we need to understand the scope conditions under which individuals are motivated to participate in a bottom-up risk-sharing setting. The model puts forward participation as a utility maximizing alternative for agents with higher risk levels, who are more risk averse, are driven more by solidarity motives, and less susceptible to cost fluctuations. This basic micro-level model is used to simulate decision-making for agent populations in a dynamic, interdependent setting. Simulation results show that successful risk-sharing arrangements may work if participants are driven by motivations of solidarity or risk aversion, but this is less likely in populations more heterogeneous in risk, as the individual motivations can less often make up for the larger cost deficiencies. At the same time, more heterogeneous groups deal better with uncertainty and temporary cost fluctuations than more homogeneous populations do. In the latter, cascades following temporary peaks in support requests more often result in complete failure, while under full information about the risk distribution this would not have happened.

Police funding: legitimacy and hardship

Jack Mitcham | Published Sun Feb 27 19:35:02 2022

An extension of Epstein’s (2002) model for civil violence and Fonoberova et al’s (2012) extension of Epstein’s model. Uses heterogeneous hardship values and dynamic legitimacy values. Models public funding decisions between police and social welfare.

Peer reviewed Agent-based model to simulate equilibria and regime shifts emerged in lake ecosystems

no contributors listed | Published Tue Jan 25 11:53:47 2022

(An empty output folder named “NETLOGOexperiment” in the same location with the LAKEOBS_MIX.nlogo file is required before the model can be run properly)
The model is motivated by regime shifts (i.e. abrupt and persistent transition) revealed in the previous paleoecological study of Taibai Lake. The aim of this model is to improve a general understanding of the mechanism of emergent nonlinear shifts in complex systems. Prelimnary calibration and validation is done against survey data in MLYB lakes. Dynamic population changes of function groups can be simulated and observed on the Netlogo interface.
Main functional groups in lake ecosystems were modelled as super-individuals in a space where they interact with each other. They are phytoplankton, zooplankton, submerged macrophyte, planktivorous fish, herbivorous fish and piscivorous fish. The relationships between these functional groups include predation (e.g. zooplankton-phytoplankton), competition (phytoplankton-macrophyte) and protection (macrophyte-zooplankton). Each individual has properties in size, mass, energy, and age as physiological variables and reproduce or die according to predefined criteria. A system dynamic model was integrated to simulate external drivers.
Set biological and environmental parameters using the green sliders first. If the data of simulation are to be logged, set “Logdata” as true and input the name of the file you want the spreadsheet(.csv) to be called. You will need create an empty folder called “NETLOGOexperiment” in the same level and location with the LAKEOBS_MIX.nlogo file. Press “setup” to initialise the system and “go” to start life cycles.

An agent-based model for the diffusion of innovations with multiple characteristics and price-premiums

Peer reviewed Multilevel Group Selection I

Garry Sotnik Thaddeus Shannon Wayne W. Wakeland | Published Tue Apr 21 18:07:27 2020 | Last modified Sat Jul 3 20:38:55 2021

New theoretical agent-based model of population-wide adoption of prosocial common-pool behavior with four parameters (initial percent of adopters, pressure to change behavior, synergy from behavior, and population density); dynamics in behavior, movement, freeriding, and group composition and size; and emergence of multilevel group selection. Theoretical analysis of model’s dynamics identified six regions in model’s parameter space, in which pressure-synergy combinations lead to different outcomes: extinction, persistence, and full adoption. Simulation results verified the theoretical analysis and demonstrated that increases in density reduce number of pressure-synergy combinations leading to population-wide adoption; initial percent of contributors affects underlying behavior and final outcomes, but not size of regions or transition zones between them; and random movement assists adoption of prosocial common-pool behavior.

This model builds on the Armature distribution within the PaleoscapeABM model, which is itself a variant of the PaleoscapeABM available here written by Wren and Janssen, and.

This model aims to explore where and how much shellfish is discarded at coastal and non-coastal locations by daily coastal foraging. We use this model’s output to test the idea that we can confidently use the archaeological record to evaluate the importance of shellfish in prehistoric people’s diets.

The recognition that aquatic adaptations likely had significant impacts on human evolution triggered an explosion of research on that topic. Recognizing coastal foraging in the past relies on the archaeological signature of that behavior. We use this model to explore why some coastal sites are very intensely occupied and see if it is due to the shellfish productivity of the coast.

This NetLogo model simulates trait-based biotic responses to climate change in an environmentally heterogeneous continent in an evolving clade, the species of which are each represented by local populations that disperse and interbreed; they also are subject to selection, genetic drift, and local extirpation. We simulated mammalian herbivores, whose success depends on tooth crown height, vegetation type, precipitation and grit. This model investigates the role of dispersal, selection, extirpation, and other factors contribute to resilience under three climate change scenarios.

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