Computational Model Library

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.

This model simulates a group of farmers that have encounters with individuals of a wildlife population. Each farmer owns a set of cells that represent their farm. Each farmer must decide what cells inside their farm will be used to produce an agricultural good that is self in an external market at a given price. The farmer must decide to protect the farm from potential encounters with individuals of the wildlife population. This decision in the model is called “fencing”. Each time that a cell is fenced, the chances of a wildlife individual to move to that cell is reduced. Each encounter reduces the productive outcome obtained of the affected cell. Farmers, therefore, can reduce the risk of encounters by exclusion. The decision of excluding wildlife is made considering the perception of risk of encounters. In the model, the perception of risk is subjective, as it depends on past encounters and on the perception of risk from other farmers in the community. The community of farmers passes information about this risk perception through a social network. The user (observer) of the model can control the importance of the social network on the individual perception of risk.

In an associated paper which focuses on analyzing the structure of several egocentric networks of collective awareness platforms for sustainable innovation (CAPS), this model is developed. It answers the question whether the network structure is determinative for the sustainability of the created awareness. Based on a thorough literature review a model is developed to explain and operationalize the concept of sustainability of a social network in terms of importance, effectiveness and robustness. By developing this agent-based model, the expected outcomes after the dissolution of the CAPS are predicted and compared with the results of a network with the same participants but with different ties. Twitter data from different CAPS is collected and used to feed the simulation. The results show that the structure of the network is of key importance for its sustainability. With this knowledge and the ability to simulate the results after network changes have taken place, CAPS can assess the sustainability of their legacy and actively steer towards a longer lasting potential for social innovation. The retrieved knowledge urges organizations like the European Commission to adopt a more blended approach focusing not only on solving societal issues but on building a community to sustain the initiated development.

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.

Geographic Expansion Model (GEM)

Sean Bergin | Published Fri Feb 28 17:41:57 2020

The purpose of this model is to explore the importance of geographic factors to the settlement choices of early Neolithic agriculturalists. In the model, each agriculturalist spreads to one of the best locations within a modeler specified radius. The best location is determined by choosing either one factor such as elevation or slope; or by ranking geographic factors in order of importance.

The model simulates the decisions of residents and a water authority to respond to socio-hydrological hazards. Residents from neighborhoods are located in a landscape with topographic complexity and two problems: water scarcity in the peripheral neighborhoods at high altitude and high risk of flooding in the lowlands, at the core of the city. The role of the water authority is to decide where investments in infrastructure should be allocated to reduce the risk to water scarcity and flooding events in the city, and these decisions are made via a multi-objective site selection procedure. This procedure accounts for the interdependencies and feedback between the urban landscape and a policy scenario that defines the importance, or priorities, that the authority places on four criteria.
Neighborhoods respond to the water authority decisions by protesting against the lack of investment and the level of exposure to water scarcity and flooding. Protests thus simulate a form of feedback between local-level outcomes (flooding and water scarcity) and higher-level decision-making. Neighborhoods at high altitude are more likely to be exposed to water scarcity and lack infrastructure, whereas neighborhoods in the lowlands tend to suffer from recurrent flooding. The frequency of flooding is also a function of spatially uniform rainfall events. Likewise, neighborhoods at the periphery of the urban landscape lack infrastructure and suffer from chronic risk of water scarcity.
The model simulates the coupling between the decision-making processes of institutional actors, socio-political processes and infrastructure-related hazards. In the documentation, we describe details of the implementation in NetLogo, the description of the procedures, scheduling, and the initial conditions of the landscape and the neighborhoods.
This work was supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1414052, CNH: The Dynamics of Multi-Scalar Adaptation in Megacities (PI Hallie Eakin).

System Narrative
How do rebel groups control territory and engage with the local economy during civil war? Charles Tilly’s seminal War and State Making as Organized Crime (1985) posits that the process of waging war and providing governance resembles that of a protection racket, in which aspiring governing groups will extort local populations in order to gain power, and civilians or businesses will pay in order to ensure their own protection. As civil war research increasingly probes the mechanisms that fuel local disputes and the origination of violence, we develop an agent-based simulation model to explore the economic relationship of rebel groups with local populations, using extortion racket interactions to explain the dynamics of rebel fighting, their impact on the economy, and the importance of their economic base of support. This analysis provides insights for understanding the causes and byproducts of rebel competition in present-day conflicts, such as the cases of South Sudan, Afghanistan, and Somalia.

Model Description
The model defines two object types: RebelGroup and Enterprise. A RebelGroup is a group that competes for power in a system of anarchy, in which there is effectively no government control. An Enterprise is a local civilian-level actor that conducts business in this environment, whose objective is to make a profit. In this system, a RebelGroup may choose to extort money from Enterprises in order to support its fighting efforts. It can extract payments from an Enterprise, which fears for its safety if it does not pay. This adds some amount of money to the RebelGroup’s resources, and they can return to extort the same Enterprise again. The RebelGroup can also choose to loot the Enterprise instead. This results in gaining all of the Enterprise wealth, but prompts the individual Enterprise to flee, or leave the model. This reduces the available pool of Enterprises available to the RebelGroup for extortion. Following these interactions the RebelGroup can choose to AllocateWealth, or pay its rebel fighters. Depending on the value of its available resources, it can add more rebels or expel some of those which it already has, changing its size. It can also choose to expand over new territory, or effectively increase its number of potential extorting Enterprises. As a response to these dynamics, an Enterprise can choose to Report expansion to another RebelGroup, which results in fighting between the two groups. This system shows how, faced with economic choices, RebelGroups and Enterprises make decisions in war that impact conflict and violence outcomes.

Leptospirosis is a neglected, bacterial zoonosis with worldwide distribution, primarily a disease of poverty. More than 200 pathogenic serovars of Leptospira bacteria exist, and a variety of species may act as reservoirs for these serovars. Human infection is the result of direct or indirect contact with Leptospira bacteria in the urine of infected animal hosts, primarily livestock, dogs, and rodents. There is increasing evidence that dogs and dog-adapted serovar Canicola play an important role in the burden of leptospirosis in humans in marginalized urban communities. What is needed is a more thorough understanding of the transmission dynamics of Leptospira in these marginalized urban communities, specifically the relative importance of dogs and rodents in the transmission of Leptospira to humans. This understanding will be vital for identifying meaningful intervention strategies.
One of the main objectives of MHMSLeptoDy is to elucidate transmission dynamics of host-adapted Leptospira strains in multi-host system. The model can also be used to evaluate alternate interventions aimed at reducing human infection risk in small-scale communities like urban slums.

The largely dominant meritocratic paradigm of highly competitive Western cultures is rooted on the belief that success is due mainly, if not exclusively, to personal qualities such as talent, intelligence, skills, smartness, efforts, willfulness, hard work or risk taking. Sometimes, we are willing to admit that a certain degree of luck could also play a role in achieving significant material success. But, as a matter of fact, it is rather common to underestimate the importance of external forces in individual successful stories. It is very well known that intelligence (or, more in general, talent and personal qualities) exhibits a Gaussian distribution among the population, whereas the distribution of wealth - often considered a proxy of success - follows typically a power law (Pareto law), with a large majority of poor people and a very small number of billionaires. Such a discrepancy between a Normal distribution of inputs, with a typical scale (the average talent or intelligence), and the scale invariant distribution of outputs, suggests that some hidden ingredient is at work behind the scenes. In a recent paper, with the help of this very simple agent-based model realized with NetLogo, we suggest that such an ingredient is just randomness. In particular, we show that, if it is true that some degree of talent is necessary to be successful in life, almost never the most talented people reach the highest peaks of success, being overtaken by mediocre but sensibly luckier individuals. As to our knowledge, this counterintuitive result - although implicitly suggested between the lines in a vast literature - is quantified here for the first time. It sheds new light on the effectiveness of assessing merit on the basis of the reached level of success and underlines the risks of distributing excessive honors or resources to people who, at the end of the day, could have been simply luckier than others. With the help of this model, several policy hypotheses are also addressed and compared to show the most efficient strategies for public funding of research in order to improve meritocracy, diversity and innovation.

Swidden farming by individual households

C Michael Barton | Published Sun Apr 27 16:49:11 2008 | Last modified Sat Apr 27 20:18:48 2013

Swidden Farming is designed to explore the dynamics of agricultural land management strategies.

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