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 [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.

Peer reviewed A Model of Global Diversity and Local Consensus in Status Beliefs

André Grow Andreas Flache Rafael Wittek | Published Wed Mar 1 18:03:05 2017 | Last modified Wed Oct 25 11:16:27 2017

This model makes it possible to explore how network clustering and resistance to changing existing status beliefs might affect the spontaneous emergence and diffusion of such beliefs as described by status construction theory.

Studies of colonization processes in past human societies often use a standard population model in which population is represented as a single quantity. Real populations in these processes, however, are structured with internal classes or stages, and classes are sometimes created based on social differentiation. In this present work, information about the colonization of old Providence Island was used to create an agent-based model of the colonization process in a heterogeneous environment for a population with social differentiation. Agents were socially divided into two classes and modeled with dissimilar spatial clustering preferences. The model and simulations assessed the importance of gregarious behavior for colonization processes conducted in heterogeneous environments by socially-differentiated populations. Results suggest that in these conditions, the colonization process starts with an agent cluster in the largest and most suitable area. The spatial distribution of agents maintained a tendency toward randomness as simulation time increased, even when gregariousness values increased. The most conspicuous effects in agent clustering were produced by the initial conditions and behavioral adaptations that increased the agent capacity to access more resources and the likelihood of gregariousness. The approach presented here could be used to analyze past human colonization events or support long-term conceptual design of future human colonization processes with small social formations into unfamiliar and uninhabited environments.

The purpose of this model is explore how “friend-of-friend” link recommendations, which are commonly used on social networking sites, impact online social network structure. Specifically, this model generates online social networks, by connecting individuals based upon varying proportions of a) connections from the real world and b) link recommendations. Links formed by recommendation mimic mutual connection, or friend-of-friend algorithms. Generated networks can then be analyzed, by the included scripts, to assess the influence that different proportions of link recommendations have on network properties, specifically: clustering, modularity, path length, eccentricity, diameter, and degree distribution.

We developed an agent-based model to explore underlying mechanisms of behavioral clustering that we observed in human online shopping experiments.

TechNet_04: Cultural Transmission in a Spatially-Situated Network

Andrew White | Published Mon Oct 8 19:36:07 2012 | Last modified Sat Apr 27 20:18:48 2013

The TechNet_04 is an abstract model that embeds a simple cultural tranmission process in an environment where interaction is structured by spatially-situated networks.

This model allows for the investigation of the effect spatial clustering of raw material sources has on the outcome of the neutral model of stone raw material procurement by Brantingham (2003).

This model simulates the spread of anti-vaccine sentiments in cyber and physical space and how it creates emergence of clusters of anti-vacciners, which eventually lead to higher probablity of disease outbreaks.

The spatially-explicit AgriculTuralLandscApe Simulator (ATLAS) simulates realistic spatial-temporal crop availability at the landscape scale through crop rotations and crop phenology.

A Simulation of Entrepreneurial Spawning

Mark Bagley | Published Wed Jun 8 19:33:28 2016 | Last modified Fri Jun 30 11:01:46 2017

Industrial clustering patterns are the result of an entrepreneurial process where spinoffs inherit the ideas and attributes of their parent firms. This computational model maps these patterns using abstract methodologies.

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