Computational Model Library

The present model demonstrates that how two basic human features: (1) that in the human brain beliefs are interconnected, and (2) people strive to maintain a coherent belief system, gives rise to opinion polarization and the appearance of fake news.

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.

This model simulations social and childcare provision in the UK. Agents within simulated households can decide to provide for informal care, or pay for private care, for their loved ones after they have provided for childcare needs. Agents base these decisions on factors including their own health, employment status, financial resources, relationship to the individual in need and geographical location. This model extends our previous simulations of social care by simulating the impact of childcare demand on social care availability within households, which is known to be a significant constraint on informal care provision.

Results show that our model replicates realistic patterns of social and child care provision, suggesting that this framework can be a valuable aid to policy-making in this area.

The purpose of this model is the simulation of social care provision in the UK, in which individual agents can decide to provide informal care, or pay for private care, for their loved ones. Agents base these decisions on factors including their own health, employment status, financial resources, relationship to the individual in need and geographical location. The model simulates care provision as a negotiation process conducted between agents across their kinship networks, with agents with stronger familial relationships to the recipient being more likely to attempt to allocate time to care provision. The model also simulates demographic change, the impact of socioeconomic status, and allows agents to relocate and change jobs or reduce working hours in order to provide care.
Despite the relative lack of empirical data in this model, the model is able to reproduce plausible patterns of social care provision. The inclusion of detailed economic and behavioural mechanisms allows this model to serve as a useful policy development tool; complex behavioural interventions can be implemented in simulation and tested on a virtual population before applying them in real-world contexts.

Pastoralscape

Matthew Sottile | Published Tue Oct 12 21:54:57 2021

Pastoralscape is a model of human agents, lifestock health and contageous disease for studying the impact of human decision making in pastoral communities within East Africa on livestock populations. It implements an event-driven agent based model in Python 3.

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) threaten smallholder livelihoods globally. Despite more than a decade of research on the LSLA phenomenon, it remains a challenge to identify governance conditions that may foster beneficial outcomes for both smallholders and investors. One potentially promising strategy toward this end is contract farming (CF), which more directly involves smallholder households in commodity production than conditions of acquisition and displacement.

To improve understanding of how CF may mediate the outcomes of LSLAs, we developed an agent-based model of smallholder livelihoods, which we used as a virtual laboratory to experiment on a range of hypothetical LSLA and CF implementation scenarios.

The model represents a community of smallholder households in a mixed crop-livestock system. Each agent farms their own land and manages a herd of livestock. Agents can also engage in off-farm employment, for which they earn a fixed wage and compete for a limited number of jobs. The principal model outputs include measures of household food security (representing access to a single, staple food crop) and agricultural production (of a single, staple food crop).

This model is an agent-based simulation written in Python 2.7, which simulates the cost of social care in an ageing UK population. The simulation incorporates processes of population change which affect the demand for and supply of social care, including health status, partnership formation, fertility and mortality. Fertility and mortality rates are drawn from UK population data, then projected forward to 2050 using the methods developed by Lee and Carter 1992.

The model demonstrates that rising life expectancy combined with lower birthrates leads to growing social care costs across the population. More surprisingly, the model shows that the oft-proposed intervention of raising the retirement age has limited utility; some reductions in costs are attained initially, but these reductions taper off beyond age 70. Subsequent work has enhanced and extended this model by adding more detail to agent behaviours and familial relationships.

The version of the model provided here produces outputs in a format compatible with the GEM-SA uncertainty quantification software by Kennedy and O’Hagan. This allows sensitivity analyses to be performed using Gaussian Process Emulation.

Digital social networks facilitate the opinion dynamics and idea flow and also provide reliable data to understand these dynamics. Public opinion and cooperation behavior are the key factors to determine the capacity of a successful and effective public policy. In particular, during the crises, such as the Corona virus pandemic, it is necessary to understand the people’s opinion toward a policy and the performance of the governance institutions. The problem of the mathematical explanation of the human behaviors is to simplify and bypass some of the essential process. To tackle this problem, we adopted a data-driven strategy to extract opinion and behavioral patterns from social media content to reflect the dynamics of society’s average beliefs toward different topics. We extracted important subtopics from social media contents and analyze the sentiments of users at each subtopic. Subsequently, we structured a Bayesian belief network to demonstrate the macro patters of the beliefs, opinions, information and emotions which trigger the response toward a prospective policy. We aim to understand the factors and latent factors which influence the opinion formation in the society. Our goal is to enhance the reality of the simulations. To capture the dynamics of opinions at an artificial society we apply agent-based opinion dynamics modeling. We intended to investigate practical implementation scenarios of this framework for policy analysis during Corona Virus Pandemic Crisis. The implemented modular modeling approach could be used as a flexible data-driven policy making tools to investigate public opinion in social media. The core idea is to put the opinion dynamics in the wider contexts of the collective decision-making, data-driven policy-modeling and digital democracy. We intended to use data-driven agent-based modeling as a comprehensive analysis tools to understand the collective opinion dynamics and decision making process on the social networks and uses this knowledge to utilize network-enabled policy modeling and collective intelligence platforms.

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
(https://www.ucl.ac.uk/behaviour-change/research/safer-sars-cov-2-acquisition-frontline-health-care-workers-evaluation-inform-response), 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).

This agent-based simulation model for group interaction is rooted in social psychological theory. The
model integrates affect control theory with networked interaction structures and sequential behavior protocols as they are often encountered in task groups. By expressing status hierarchy through network structure we build a bridge between expectation states theory and affect control theory, and are able to reproduce central results from the expectation states research program in sociological social psychology. Furthermore, we demonstrate how the model can be applied to analyze specialized task groups or sub-cultural domains by combining it with empirical data sources. As an example, we simulate groups of open-source software developers and analyze how cultural expectations influence the occupancy of high status positions in these groups.

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