Computational Model Library

Holmestrand School Model

Jessica Dimka | Published Fri Jun 18 20:09:15 2021

The Holmestrand model is an epidemiological agent-based model. Its aim is to test hypotheses related to how the social and physical environment of a residential school for children with disabilities might influence the spread of an infectious disease epidemic among students and staff. Annual reports for the Holmestrand School for the Deaf (Norway) are the primary sources of inspiration for the modeled school, with additional insights drawn from other archival records for schools for children with disabilities in early 20th century Norway and data sources for the 1918 influenza pandemic. The model environment consists of a simplified boarding school that includes residential spaces for students and staff, classrooms, a dining room, common room, and an outdoor area. Students and staff engage in activities reflecting hourly schedules suggested by school reports. By default, a random staff member is selected as the first case and is infected with disease. Subsequent transmission is determined by agent movement and interactions between susceptible and infectious pairs.

EMMIT is an end-user developed agent-based simulation of malaria transmission. The simulation’s development is a case study demonstrating an approach for non-technical investigators to easily develop useful simulations of complex public health problems. We focused on malaria transmission, a major global public health problem, and insecticide resistance (IR), a major problem affecting malaria control. Insecticides are used to reduce transmission of malaria caused by the Plasmodium parasite that is spread by the Anopheles mosquito. However, the emergence and spread of IR in a mosquito population can diminish the insecticide’s effectiveness. IR results from mutations that produce behavioral changes or biochemical changes (such as detoxification enhancement, target site alterations) in the mosquito population that provide resistance to the insecticide. Evolutionary selection for the IR traits reduces the effectiveness of an insecticide favoring the resistant mosquito population. It has been suggested that biopesticides, and specifically those that are Late Life Acting (LLA), could address this problem. LLA insecticides exploit Plasmodium’s approximate 10-day extrinsic incubation period in the mosquito vector, a delay that limits malaria transmission to older infected mosquitoes. Since the proposed LLA insecticide delays mosquito death until after the exposed mosquito has a chance to produce several broods of offspring, reducing the selective pressure for resistance, it delays IR development and gives the insecticide longer effectivity. Such insecticides are designed to slow the evolution of IR thus maintaining their effectiveness for malaria control. For the IR problem, EMMIT shows that an LLA insecticide could work as intended, but its operational characteristics are critical, primarily the mean-time-to-death after exposure and the associated standard deviation. We also demonstrate the simulation’s extensibility to other malaria control measures, including larval source control and policies to mitigate the spread of IR. The simulation was developed using NetLogo as a case study of a simple but useful approach to public health research.

This model is designed to address the following research question: How does the amount and topology of intergroup cultural transmission modulate the effect of local group extinction on selectively neutral cultural diversity in a geographically structured population? The experimental design varies group extinction rate, the amount of intergroup cultural transmission, and the topology of intergroup cultural transmission while measuring the effects of local group extinction on long-term cultural change and regional cultural differentiation in a constant-size, spatially structured population. The results show that for most of the intergroup social network topologies tested here, increasing the amount of intergroup cultural transmission (similar to increasing gene flow in a genetic model) erases the negative effect of local group extinction on selectively neutral cultural diversity. The stochastic (i.e., preference attachment) network seems to stand out as an exception.

A minimal genetic algorithm was preliminarily developed to search for the solution of an elementary arithmetic problem. It has been modified to explore the effect of a mutator gene and the consequent entrance into a hypermutation state. The phenomenon is particularly important in some types of tumorigenesis and in a more general way, in cells and tissues submitted to chronic sublethal environmental or genomic stress.
Since a long time, some scholars suppose that organisms speed up their own evolution by varying mutation rate, but evolutionary biologists are not convinced that evolution can select a mechanism promoting more (often harmful) mutations looking forward an environmental challenge. The aim of the model is to shed light on these controversial points of views.

Peer reviewed Evolution of Ecological Communities: Testing Constraint Closure

Steve Peck | Published Sun Dec 6 19:37:54 2020 | Last modified Fri Apr 16 22:17:46 2021

Ecosystems are among the most complex structures studied. They comprise elements that seem both stable and contingent. The stability of these systems depends on interactions among their evolutionary history, including the accidents of organisms moving through the landscape and microhabitats of the earth, and the biotic and abiotic conditions in which they occur. When ecosystems are stable, how is that achieved? Here we look at ecosystem stability through a computer simulation model that suggests that it may depend on what constrains the system and how those constraints are structured. Specifically, if the constraints found in an ecological community form a closed loop, that allows particular kinds of feedback may give structure to the ecosystem processes for a period of time. In this simulation model, we look at how evolutionary forces act in such a way these closed constraint loops may form. This may explain some kinds of ecosystem stability. This work will also be valuable to ecological theorists in understanding general ideas of stability in such systems.

Peer reviewed Evolution of Sex

Kristin Crouse | Published Sun Jun 5 08:24:01 2016 | Last modified Mon Feb 15 15:40:39 2021

Evolution of Sex is a NetLogo model that illustrates the advantages and disadvantages of sexual and asexual reproductive strategies. It seeks to demonstrate the answer to the question “Why do we have sex?”

Peer reviewed B3GET

Kristin Crouse | Published Thu Nov 14 20:07:16 2019 | Last modified Tue Oct 6 20:13:54 2020

B3GET simulates populations of virtual organisms evolving over generations, whose evolutionary outcomes reflect the selection pressures of their environment. The model simulates several factors considered important in biology, including life history trade-offs, investment in fighting ability and aggression, sperm competition, infanticide, and competition over access to food and mates. Downloaded materials include a starting genotype and population files. Edit the these files and see what changes occur in the behavior of virtual populations!

This model was developed to test the usability of evolutionary computing and reinforcement learning by extending a well known agent-based model. Sugarscape (Epstein & Axtell, 1996) has been used to demonstrate migration, trade, wealth inequality, disease processes, sex, culture, and conflict. It is on conflict that this model is focused to demonstrate how machine learning methodologies could be applied.

The code is based on the Sugarscape 2 Constant Growback model, availble in the NetLogo models library. New code was added into the existing model while removing code that was not needed and modifying existing code to support the changes. Support for the original movement rule was retained while evolutionary computing, Q-Learning, and SARSA Learning were added.

Peer reviewed Population Genetics

Kristin Crouse | Published Thu Feb 8 22:07:51 2018 | Last modified Wed Sep 9 03:31:32 2020

This model simulates the mechanisms of evolution, or how allele frequencies change in a population over time.

Industrial location theory has not emphasized environmental concerns, and research on industrial symbiosis has not emphasized workforce housing concerns. This article brings jobs, housing, and environmental considerations together in an agent-based model of industrial
and household location. It shows that four classic outcomes emerge from the interplay of a relatively small number of explanatory factors: the isolated enterprise with commuters; the company town; the economic agglomeration; and the balanced city.

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