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.

An empirical ABM for regional land use/cover change: a Dutch case study

Diego Valbuena | Published Sat Mar 12 12:58:20 2011 | Last modified Thu Nov 11 09:55:25 2021

This is an empirical model described in The objective of the model is to simulate how the decision-making of farmers/agents with different strategies can affect the landscape structure in a region in the Netherlands.

Retail Competition Agent-based Model

Jiaxin Zhang Derek Robinson | Published Sun Jan 3 19:59:48 2021 | Last modified Wed Nov 10 02:38:08 2021

The Retail Competition Agent-based Model (RC-ABM) is designed to simulate the retail competition system in the Region of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, which which explicitly represents store competition behaviour. Through the RC-ABM, we aim to answer 4 research questions: 1) What is the level of correspondence between market share and revenue acquisition for an agent-based approach compared to a traditional location-allocation-based approach? 2) To what degree can the observed store spatial pattern be reproduced by competition? 3) To what degree are their path dependent patterns of retail success? 4) What is the relationship between retail survival and the endogenous geographic characteristics of stores and consumer expenditures?

This model simulations social and childcare provision in the UK. Agents within simulated households can decide to provide for informal care, or pay for private care, for their loved ones after they have provided for childcare needs. Agents base these decisions on factors including their own health, employment status, financial resources, relationship to the individual in need and geographical location. This model extends our previous simulations of social care by simulating the impact of childcare demand on social care availability within households, which is known to be a significant constraint on informal care provision.

Results show that our model replicates realistic patterns of social and child care provision, suggesting that this framework can be a valuable aid to policy-making in this area.

The purpose of this model is the simulation of social care provision in the UK, in which individual agents can decide to provide informal care, or pay for private care, for their loved ones. Agents base these decisions on factors including their own health, employment status, financial resources, relationship to the individual in need and geographical location. The model simulates care provision as a negotiation process conducted between agents across their kinship networks, with agents with stronger familial relationships to the recipient being more likely to attempt to allocate time to care provision. The model also simulates demographic change, the impact of socioeconomic status, and allows agents to relocate and change jobs or reduce working hours in order to provide care.
Despite the relative lack of empirical data in this model, the model is able to reproduce plausible patterns of social care provision. The inclusion of detailed economic and behavioural mechanisms allows this model to serve as a useful policy development tool; complex behavioural interventions can be implemented in simulation and tested on a virtual population before applying them in real-world contexts.

Plastics and the pollution caused by their waste have always been a menace to both nature and humans. With the continual increase in plastic waste, the contamination due to plastic has stretched to the oceans. Many plastics are being drained into the oceans and rose to accumulate in the oceans. These plastics have seemed to form large patches of debris that keep floating in the oceans over the years. Identification of the plastic debris in the ocean is challenging and it is essential to clean plastic debris from the ocean. We propose a simple tool built using the agent-based modeling framework NetLogo. The tool uses ocean currents data and plastic data both being loaded using GIS (Geographic Information System) to simulate and visualize the movement of floatable plastic and debris in the oceans. The tool can be used to identify the plastic debris that has been piled up in the oceans. The tool can also be used as a teaching aid in classrooms to bring awareness about the impact of plastic pollution. This tool could additionally assist people to realize how a small plastic chunk discarded can end up as large debris drifting in the oceans. The same tool might help us narrow down the search area while looking out for missing cargo and wreckage parts of ships or flights. Though the tool does not pinpoint the location, it might help in reducing the search area and might be a rudimentary alternative for more computationally expensive models.

Peer reviewed An Agent-Based Model of Campaign-Based Watershed Management

Samuel Assefa Aad Kessler Luuk Fleskens | Published Mon Sep 21 13:47:41 2020 | Last modified Fri Jun 4 15:23:59 2021

The model simulates the national Campaign-Based Watershed Management program of Ethiopia. It includes three agents (farmers, Kebele/ village administrator, extension workers) and the physical environment that interact with each other. The physical environment is represented by patches (fields). Farmers make decisions on the locations of micro-watersheds to be developed, participation in campaign works to construct soil and water conservation structures, and maintenance of these structures. These decisions affect the physical environment or generate model outcomes. The model is developed to explore conditions that enhance outcomes of the program by analyzing the effect on the area of land covered and quality of soil and water conservation structures of (1) enhancing farmers awareness and motivation, (2) establishing and strengthening micro-watershed associations, (3) introducing alternative livelihood opportunities, and (4) enhancing the commitment of local government actors.

This is a variant of the PaleoscapeABM model available here written by Wren and Janssen. In this variant, we give projectile weapons to hunter and document where they discard them over time. Discard rate and location are influenced by probabilities of hitting/missing the prey, probabilities of damaging the weapon, and probabilities of carrying back embedded projectile armatures to the habitation camp with the body carcass.

Replication of an agent-based model using the Replication Standard

Jiaxin Zhang Derek Robinson | Published Sun Jan 20 05:37:16 2019 | Last modified Sat Jul 18 02:33:17 2020

This model is a replication model which is constructed based on the existing model used by the following article:
Brown, D.G. and Robinson, D.T., 2006. Effects of heterogeneity in residential preferences on an agent-based model of urban sprawl. Ecology and society, 11(1).
The original model is called SLUCE’s Original Model for Experimentation (SOME). In Brown and Robinson (2006)’s article, the SOME model was used to explore the impacts of heterogeneity in residential location selections on the research of urban sprawl. The original model was constructed using Objective-C language based on SWARM platform. This replication model is built by NetLogo language on NetLogo platform. We successfully replicate that model and demonstrated the reliability and replicability of it.

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.

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