Computational Model Library

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).

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.

RiskNetABM

Meike Will Jürgen Groeneveld Karin Frank Birgit Müller Friederike Lenel | Published Mon Jul 20 13:41:17 2020 | Last modified Mon May 3 16:26:34 2021

The fight against poverty is an urgent global challenge. Microinsurance is promoted as a valuable instrument for buffering income losses due to health or climate-related risks of low-income households in developing countries. However, apart from direct positive effects they can have unintended side effects when insured households lower their contribution to traditional arrangements where risk is shared through private monetary support.

RiskNetABM is an agent-based model that captures dynamics between income losses, insurance payments and informal risk-sharing. The model explicitly includes decisions about informal transfers. It can be used to assess the impact of insurance products and informal risk-sharing arrangements on the resilience of smallholders. Specifically, it allows to analyze whether and how economic needs (i.e. level of living costs) and characteristics of extreme events (i.e. frequency, intensity and type of shock) influence the ability of insurance and informal risk-sharing to buffer income shocks. Two types of behavior with regard to private monetary transfers are explicitly distinguished: (1) all households provide transfers whenever they can afford it and (2) insured households do not show solidarity with their uninsured peers.

The model is stylized and is not used to analyze a particular case study, but represents conditions from several regions with different risk contexts where informal risk-sharing networks between smallholder farmers are prevalent.

Wolf-sheep predation Netlogo model, extended, with foresight

andreapolicarpi | Published Wed Sep 16 13:59:06 2020 | Last modified Tue Apr 13 12:47:10 2021

This model is an extension of the Netlogo Wolf-sheep predation model by U.Wilensky (1997). This extended model studies several different behavioural mechanisms that wolves and sheep could adopt in order to enhance their survivability, and their overall impact on global equilibrium of the system.

The Netlogo model is a conceptualization of the Moria refugee camp, capturing the household demographics of refugees in the camp, a theoretical friendship network based on values, and an abstraction of their daily activities. The model then simulates how Covid-19 could spread through the camp if one refugee is exposed to the virus, utilizing transmission probabilities and the stages of disease progression of Covid-19 from susceptible to exposed to asymptomatic / symptomatic to mild / severe to recovered from literature. The model also incorporates various interventions - PPE, lockdown, isolation of symptomatic refugees - to analyze how they could mitigate the spread of the virus through the camp.

This is an Agent Based Model of a generic food chain network consisting of stylized individuals representing producers, traders, and consumers. It is developed to: 1/ to describe the dynamically changing disaggregated flows of crop items between these agents, and 2/ to be able to explicitly consider agent behavior. The agents have implicit personal objectives for trading. Resilience and efficiency are quantified using the ascendency concept by linking these to the fraction of fulfillment of the overall explicit objective to have all consumers meet their food requirement. Different types of network structures in combination with different agent interaction types under different types of stylized shocks can be simulated.

FeedUS - A global food trade model

Jiaqi Ge | Published Thu Feb 25 17:34:06 2021 | Last modified Fri Feb 26 13:04:23 2021

The purpose of the model is to study the impact of global food trade on food and nutrition security in countries around the world. It will incorporate three main aspects of trade between countries, including a country’s wealth, geographic location, and its trade relationships with other countries (past and ongoing), and can be used to study food and nutrition security across countries in various scenarios, such as climate change, sustainable intensification, waste reduction and dietary change.

In recent years we have seen multiple incidents with a large number of people injured and killed by one or more armed attackers. Since this type of violence is difficult to predict, detecting threats as early as possible allows to generate early warnings and reduce response time. In this context, any tool to check and compare different action protocols can be a further step in the direction of saving lives. Our proposal combines features from continuous and discrete models to obtain the best of both worlds in order to simulate large and crowded spaces where complex behavior individuals interact. With this proposal we aim to provide a tool for testing different security protocols under several emergency scenarios, where spaces, hazards, and population can be customized. Finally, we use a proof of concept implementation of this model to test specific security protocols under emergency situations for real spaces. Specifically, we test how providing some users of a university college with an app that informs about the type and characteristics of the ongoing hazard, affects in the safety performance.

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.

This is a simulation model of communication between two groups of managers in the course of project implementation. The “world” of the model is a space of interaction between project participants, each of which belongs either to a group of work performers or to a group of customers. Information about the progress of the project is publicly available and represents the deviation Earned value (EV) from the planned project value (cost baseline).
The key elements of the model are 1) persons belonging to a group of customers or performers, 2) agents that are communication acts. The life cycle of persons is equal to the time of the simulation experiment, the life cycle of the communication act is 3 periods of model time (for the convenience of visualizing behavior during the experiment). The communication act occurs at a specific point in the model space, the coordinates of which are realized as random variables. During the experiment, persons randomly move in the model space. The communication act involves persons belonging to a group of customers and a group of performers, remote from the place of the communication act at a distance not exceeding the value of the communication radius (MaxCommRadius), while at least one representative from each of the groups must participate in the communication act. If none are found, the communication act is not carried out. The number of potential communication acts per unit of model time is a parameter of the model (CommPerTick).

The managerial sense of the feedback is the stimulating effect of the positive value of the accumulated communication complexity (positive background of the project implementation) on the productivity of the performers. Provided there is favorable communication (“trust”, “mutual understanding”) between the customer and the contractor, it is more likely that project operations will be performed with less lag behind the plan or ahead of it.
The behavior of agents in the world of the model (change of coordinates, visualization of agents’ belonging to a specific communicative act at a given time, etc.) is not informative. Content data are obtained in the form of time series of accumulated communicative complexity, the deviation of the earned value from the planned value, average indicators characterizing communication - the total number of communicative acts and the average number of their participants, etc. These data are displayed on graphs during the simulation experiment.
The control elements of the model allow seven independent values to be varied, which, even with a minimum number of varied values (three: minimum, maximum, optimum), gives 3^7 = 2187 different variants of initial conditions. In this case, the statistical processing of the results requires repeated calculation of the model indicators for each grid node. Thus, the set of varied parameters and the range of their variation is determined by the logic of a particular study and represents a significant narrowing of the full set of initial conditions for which the model allows simulation experiments.

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