Computational Model Library

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 An agent-based model for brain drain

Furkan Gursoy Bertan Badur | Published Wed Mar 3 08:04:00 2021 | Last modified Fri Mar 12 09:40:13 2021

An agent-based model for the emigration of highly-skilled labour.

We hypothesise that there are two main factors that impact the decision and ability to move abroad: desire to maximise individual utility and network effects. Accordingly, several factors play role in brain drain such as the overall economic and social differences between the home and host countries, people’s ability and capacity to obtain good jobs and start a life abroad, the barriers of moving abroad, and people’s social network who are already working abroad.

The integrated and spatially-explicit ABM, called DIReC (Demography, Industry and Residential Choice), has been developed for Aberdeen City and the surrounding Aberdeenshire (Ge, Polhill, Craig, & Liu, 2018). The model includes demographic (individual and household) models, housing infrastructure and occupancy, neighbourhood quality and evolution, employment and labour market, business relocation, industrial structure, income distribution and macroeconomic indicators. DIReC includes a detailed spatial housing model, basing preference models on house attributes and multi-dimensional neighbourhood qualities (education, crime, employment etc.).
The dynamic ABM simulates the interactions between individuals, households, the labour market, businesses and services, neighbourhoods and economic structures. It is empirically grounded using multiple data sources, such as income and gender-age distribution across industries, neighbourhood attributes, business locations, and housing transactions. It has been used to study the impact of economic shocks and structural changes, such as the crash of oil price in 2014 (the Aberdeen economy heavily relies on the gas and oil sector) and the city’s transition from resource-based to a green economy (Ge, Polhill, Craig, & Liu, 2018).

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?”

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.

Exploring Urban Shrinkage 2

njiang13 Andrew Crooks | Published Thu Jan 14 20:28:05 2021

While the world’s total urban population continues to grow, not all cities are witnessing such growth, some are actually shrinking. This shrinkage causes several problems to emerge including population loss, economic depression, vacant properties and the contraction of housing markets. Such problems challenge efforts to make cities sustainable. While there is a growing body of work on study shrinking cities, few explore such a phenomenon from the bottom up using dynamic computational models. To overcome this issue this paper presents an spatially explicit agent-based model stylized on the Detroit Tri-county area, an area witnessing shrinkage. Specifically, the model demonstrates how through the buying and selling of houses can lead to urban shrinkage from the bottom up. The model results indicate that along with the lower level housing transactions being captured, the aggregated level market conditions relating to urban shrinkage are also captured (i.e., the contraction of housing markets). As such, the paper demonstrates the potential of simulation to explore urban shrinkage and potentially offers a means to test polices to achieve urban sustainability.

Schelling and Sakoda prominently proposed computational models suggesting that strong ethnic residential segregation can be the unintended outcome of a self-reinforcing dynamic driven by choices of individuals with rather tolerant ethnic preferences. There are only few attempts to apply this view to school choice, another important arena in which ethnic segregation occurs. In the current paper, we explore with an agent-based theoretical model similar to those proposed for residential segregation, how ethnic tolerance among parents can affect the level of school segregation. More specifically, we ask whether and under which conditions school segregation could be reduced if more parents hold tolerant ethnic preferences. We move beyond earlier models of school segregation in three ways. First, we model individual school choices using a random utility discrete choice approach. Second, we vary the pattern of ethnic segregation in the residential context of school choices systematically, comparing residential maps in which segregation is unrelated to parents’ level of tolerance to residential maps reflecting their ethnic preferences. Third, we introduce heterogeneity in tolerance levels among parents belonging to the same group. Our simulation experiments suggest that ethnic school segregation can be a very robust phenomenon, occurring even when about half of the population prefers mixed to segregated schools. However, we also identify a “sweet spot” in the parameter space in which a larger proportion of tolerant parents makes the biggest difference. This is the case when parents have moderate preferences for nearby schools and there is only little residential segregation. Further experiments are presented that unravel the underlying mechanisms.

The agent-based perspective allows insights on how behaviour of firms, guided by simple economic rules on the micro-level, is dynamically influenced by a complex environment in regard to the assumed relocation, decision-making hypotheses. Testing various variables sensitive to initial conditions, increased environmental regulations targeting global trade and upward shifting wage levels in formerly offshore production locations have shown to be driving and inhibiting mechanisms of this socio-technical system. The dynamic demonstrates a shift from predominantly cited economic reasoning for relocation strategies towards sustainability aspects, pressingly changing these realities on an environmental and social dimension. The popular debate is driven by increased environmental awareness and the proclaimed fear of robots killing jobs. In view of reshoring shaping the political agenda, interest in the phenomenon has recently been fuelled by the rise of populism and protectionism.

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.

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 website uses cookies and Google Analytics to help us track user engagement and improve our site. If you'd like to know more information about what data we collect and why, please see our data privacy policy. If you continue to use this site, you consent to our use of cookies.