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 BAM: The Bottom-up Adaptive Macroeconomics Model

Alejandro Platas López | Published Tue Jan 14 17:04:32 2020 | Last modified Sun Jul 26 00:26:21 2020



Modeling an economy with stable macro signals, that works as a benchmark for studying the effects of the agent activities, e.g. extortion, at the service of the elaboration of public policies..

The community consequences of intra-specific trait variation (ITV) are a current topic in ecological research. The effects of ITV on species coexistence have, yet, not sufficiently been understood. With this individual-based model we analyzed the effect of intra-specific variation in movement by mimicking variation found in ground-dwelling rodents and analyzing how such variation affects inter-specific differences in competitive ability (i.e. foraging efficiency) and temporary coexistence. The movement algorithm and behavioral plasticity was adapted from existing algorithms and current ecological literature. As a measure for temporary coexistence, we analyzed the time until one of the species went extinct.

This version of the accumulated copying error (ACE) model is designed to address the following research question: how does finite population size (N) affect the coefficient of variation (CV) of a continuous cultural trait under the assumptions that the only source of copying error is visual perception error and that the continuous trait can take any positive value (i.e., it has no upper bound)? The model allows one to address this question while assuming the continuous trait is transmitted via vertical transmission, unbiased transmission, prestige biased transmission, mean conformist transmission, or median conformist transmission. By varying the parameter, p, one can also investigate the effect of population size under a mix of vertical and non-vertical transmission, whereby on average (1-p)N individuals learn via vertical transmission and pN individuals learn via either unbiased transmission, prestige biased transmission, mean conformist transmission, or median conformist transmission.

This ABM re-implements and extends the simulation model of peer review described in Squazzoni & Gandelli (Squazzoni & Gandelli, 2013 - doi:10.18564/jasss.2128) (hereafter: ‘SG’). The SG model was originally developed for NetLogo and is also available in CoMSES at this link.
The purpose of the original SG model was to explore how different author and reviewer strategies would impact the outcome of a journal peer review system on an array of dimensions including peer review efficacy, efficiency and equality. In SG, reviewer evaluation consists of a continuous variable in the range [0,1], and this evaluation scale is the same for all reviewers. Our present extension to the SG model allows to explore the consequences of two more realistic assumptions on reviewer evaluation: (1) that the evaluation scale is discrete (e.g. like in a Likert scale); (2) that there may be differences among their interpretation of the grades of the evaluation scale (i.e. that the grade language is heterogeneous).

Cultural Spread

Salvador Pardo-Gordó Salvador Pardo Gordó | Published Thu Apr 2 11:44:34 2015 | Last modified Thu Apr 23 11:41:45 2020

The purpose of the model is to simulate the cultural hitchhiking hypothesis to explore how neutral cultural traits linked with advantageous traits spread together over time

The application of a smartphone application to register physical encounters between individuals is considered by public health authorities, as a means to reduce the number of infections in the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. The general idea is that continuous registration of all other smartphones in the vicinity of an individual’s smartphone potentially enables early warning of the owners of the other smartphones, in case the individual is tested positive as infected. Those other individuals can then go into isolation and be considered for testing. The purpose of the present simulation is to explore the potential effects of this application on frequencies of infection, isolation, and positive and negative infection test results.

Political Participation

Didier Ruedin | Published Sat Apr 12 23:07:27 2014 | Last modified Tue Apr 14 19:59:31 2020

Implementation of Milbrath’s (1965) model of political participation. Individual participation is determined by stimuli from the political environment, interpersonal interaction, as well as individual characteristics.

AncientS-ABM is an agent-based model for simulating and evaluating the potential social organization of an artificial past society, configured by available archaeological data. Unlike most existing agent-based models used in archaeology, our ABM framework includes completely autonomous, utility-based agents. It also incorporates different social organization paradigms, different decision-making processes, and also different cultivation technologies used in ancient societies. Equipped with such paradigms, the model allows us to explore the transition from a simple to a more complex society by focusing on the historical social dynamics; and to assess the influence of social organization on agents’ population growth, agent community numbers, sizes and distribution.

AncientS-ABM also blends ideas from evolutionary game theory with multi-agent systems’ self-organization. We model the evolution of social behaviours in a population of strategically interacting agents in repeated games where they exchange resources (utility) with others. The results of the games contribute to both the continuous re-organization of the social structure, and the progressive adoption of the most successful agent strategies. Agent population is not fixed, but fluctuates over time, while agents in stage games also receive non-static payoffs, in contrast to most games studied in the literature. To tackle this, we defined a novel formulation of the evolutionary dynamics via assessing agents’ rather than strategies’ fitness.

As a case study, we employ AncientS-ABM to evaluate the impact of the implemented social organization paradigms on an artificial Bronze Age “Minoan” society, located at different geographical parts of the island of Crete, Greece. Model parameter choices are based on archaeological evidence and studies, but are not biased towards any specific assumption. Results over a number of different simulation scenarios demonstrate better sustainability for settlements consisting of and adopting a socio-economic organization model based on self-organization, where a “heterarchical” social structure emerges. Results also demonstrate that successful agent societies adopt an evolutionary approach where cooperation is an emergent strategic behaviour. In simulation scenarios where the natural disaster module was enabled, we observe noticeable changes in the settlements’ distribution, relating to significantly higher migration rates immediately after the modeled Theran eruption. In addition, the initially cooperative behaviour is transformed to a non-cooperative one, thus providing support for archaeological theories suggesting that the volcanic eruption led to a clear breakdown of the Minoan socio-economic system.

PoliSEA represents a continuous policy process cycle, integrated with the dynamics of a fishery social-ecological system. The policy process in the model is represented by interactions between policymakers and interest groups and subsequent voting during which policymaker decide to increase or decrease the fishing quota for the next season. Policymakers’ positions can be influenced by lobbying of interest groups or interest group coalitions. The quota adopted through the policy process determines the amount of fish that can be harvested from the fish population during the season.

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