Computational Model Library

The rapid environmental changes currently underway in many dry regions of the world, and the deep uncertainty about their consequences, underscore a critical challenge for sustainability: how to maintain cooperation that ensures the provision of natural resources when the benefits of cooperating are variable, sometimes uncertain, and often limited. We present an agent-based model that simulates the economic decisions of households to engage, or not, in labor-sharing agreements under different scenarios of water supply, water variability, and socio-environmental risk. We formulate the model to investigate the consequences of environmental variability on the fate of labor-sharing agreements between farmers. The economic decisions were implemented in the framework of prospect theory.

Spatial rangeland model

Marco Janssen | Published Tue Jan 22 01:51:09 2019

Spatial explicit model of a rangeland system, based on Australian conditions, where grass, woody shrubs and fire compete fore resources. Overgrazing can cause the system to flip from a healthy state to an unproductive shrub state. With the model one can explore the consequences of different movement rules of the livestock on the resilience of the system.

The model is discussed in Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling by Marco Janssen. For more information see

Governing the commons

Marco Janssen | Published Tue Jan 14 17:12:29 2020

Model on the use of shared renewable resources including impact of imitation via success-bias and altruistic punishment.
The model is discussed in Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling by Marco Janssen. For more information see

Sugarscape with spice

Marco Janssen | Published Tue Jan 14 17:09:12 2020

This is a variation of the Sugarspace model of Axtell and Epstein (1996) with spice and trade of sugar and spice. The model is not an exact replication since we have a somewhat simpler landscape of sugar and spice resources included, as well as a simple reproduction rule where agents with a certain accumulated wealth derive an offspring (if a nearby empty patch is available).
The model is discussed in Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling by Marco Janssen. For more information see

Port of Mars simplified

Marco Janssen | Published Tue Jan 14 17:02:08 2020

This is a simulation model to explore possible outcomes of the Port of Mars cardgame. Port of Mars is a resource allocation game examining how people navigate conflicts between individual goals and common interests relative to shared resources. The game involves five players, each of whom must decide how much of their time and effort to invest in maintaining public infrastructure and renewing shared resources and how much to expend in pursuit of their individual goals. In the game, “Upkeep” is a number that represents the physical health of the community. This number begins at 100 and goes down by twenty-five points each round, representing resource consumption and wear and tear on infrastructure. If that number reaches zero, the community collapses and everyone dies.

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.


Lisa Huber Nico Bahro | Published Wed Nov 20 07:52:39 2019

Aqua.MORE (Agent-based MOdelling of REsources in Socio-Hydrological Systems) is an agent based modelling (ABM) approach to simulate the resource flow and social interaction in a coupled natural and social system of water supply and demand. The model is able to simulate the two-way feedback as socio-economic agents influence the natural resource flow and the availability of this resource influences the agents in their behaviour.

Organisms, Individuals and Organizations face the dilemma of exploration vs. exploitation
Identifying the optimal trade-off between the two is a challenge
Too much exploration (e.g. gaining new knowledge) can be detrimental to day-to-day survival and too much exploitation (applying existing knowledge) could be detrimental to long term survival esp. if conditions change over time

The purpose of the model is to investigate how the amount of resources acquired (wealth/success) is related to persistence with the strategy of local exploration under different resource distributions, availability of resources over time and cost of relocation

CHAAHK: a Spatial Simulation of the Maya Elevated Core Region

Alex Kara | Published Tue Dec 4 23:33:28 2018 | Last modified Thu Sep 26 20:45:13 2019

This thesis presents an abstract spatial simulation model of the Maya Central Lowlands coupled human and natural system from 1000 BCE to the present day. It’s name is the Climatically Heightened but Anothropogenically Achieved Historical Kerplunk model (CHAAHK). The simulation features features virtual human groups, population centers, transit routes, local resources, and imported resources. Despite its embryonic state, the model demonstrates how certain anthropogenic characteristics of a landscape can interact with externally induced trauma and result in a prolonged period of relative sociopolitical uncomplexity. Analysis of batch simulation output suggests decreasing empirical uncertainties about ancient wetland modification warrants more investment. This first submission of CHAAHK’s code represents the simulation’s implementation that was featured in the author’s master’s thesis.


Farzaneh Davari | Published Tue Sep 10 19:53:53 2019 | Last modified Thu Sep 12 03:07:04 2019

The command and control policy in natural resource management, including water resources, is a longstanding established policy that has been theoretically and practically argued from the point of view of social-ecological complex systems. With the intention of making a system ecologically resilient, these days, policymakers apply the top-down policies of controlling communities through regulations. To explore how these policies may work and to understand whether the ecological goal can be achieved via command and control policy, this research uses the capacity of Agent-Based Modeling (ABM) as an experimental platform in the Urmia Lake Basin (ULB) in Iran, which is a social-ecological complex system and has gone through a drought process.

Despite the uncertainty of the restorability capacity of the lake, there has been a consensus on the possibility to artificially restore the lake through the nationally managed Urmia Lake Restoratoin Program (ULRP). To reduce water consumption in the Basin, the ULRP widely targets the agricultural sector and proposes the project of changing crop patterns from high-water-demand (HWD) to low-water-demand (LWD), which includes a component to control water consumption by establishing water-police forces.

Using a wide range of multidisciplinary studies about Urmia Lake at the Basin and sub-basins as well as qualitative information at micro-level as the main conceptual sources for the ABM, the findings under different strategies indicate that targeting crop patterns change by legally limiting farmers’ access to water could force farmers to change their crop patterns for a short period of time as long as the number of police constantly increases. However, it is not a sustainable policy for either changing the crop patterns nor restoring the lake.

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