Computational Model Library

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.

Cultural Group Selection of Sustainable Institutions

Timothy Waring Sandra H Goff Paul Smaldino | Published Wed Jun 10 17:38:06 2015 | Last modified Tue Aug 4 14:14:05 2015

We develop a spatial, evolutionary model of the endogenous formation and dissolution of groups using a renewable common pool resource. We use this foundation to measure the evolutionary pressures at different organizational levels.

The Palaeo-Agulhas Plain formed an important habitat exploited by Pleistocene hunter-gatherer populations during periods of lower sea level. This productive, grassy habitat would have supported numerous large-bodied ungulates accessible to a population of skilled hunters with the right hunting technology. It also provided a potentially rich location for plant food collection, and along its shores a coastline that moved with the rise and fall of sea levels. The rich archaeological and paleontological records of Pleistocene sites along the modern Cape south coast of South Africa, which would have overlooked the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain during Pleistocene times of lower sea level, provides a paleoarchive of this extinct ecosystem. In this paper, we present a first order illustration of the “palaeoscape modeling” approach advocated by Marean et al. (2015). We use a resourcescape model created from modern studies of habitat productivity without the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain. This is equivalent to predominant Holocene conditions. We then run an agent-based model of the human foraging system to investigate several research questions. Our agent-based approach uses the theoretical framework of optimal foraging theory to model human foraging decisions designed to optimize the net caloric gains within a complex landscape of spatially and temporally variable resources. We find that during the high sea-levels of MIS 5e (+5-6 m asl) and the Holocene, the absence of the Plain left a relatively poor food base supporting a much smaller population relying heavily on edible plant resources from the current Cape flora. Despite high species diversity of plants with edible storage organs, and marine invertebrates, encounter rates with highly profitable resources were low. We demonstrate that without the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain, human populations must have been small and low density, and exploited plant, mammal, and marine resources with relatively low caloric returns. The exposure and contraction of the Palaeo-Agulhas Plain was likely the single biggest driver of behavioral change during periods of climate change through the Pleistocene and into the transition to the Holocene.

This study investigates a possible nexus between inter-group competition and intra-group cooperation, which may be called “tribalism.” Building upon previous studies demonstrating a relationship between the environment and social relations, the present research incorporates a social-ecological model as a mediating factor connecting both individuals and communities to the environment. Cyclical and non-cyclical fluctuation in a simple, two-resource ecology drive agents to adopt either “go-it-alone” or group-based survival strategies via evolutionary selection. Novelly, this simulation employs a multilevel selection model allowing group-level dynamics to exert downward selective pressures on individuals’ propensity to cooperate within groups. Results suggest that cooperation and inter-group conflict are co-evolved in a triadic relationship with the environment. Resource scarcity increases inter-group competition, especially when resources are clustered as opposed to widely distributed. Moreover, the tactical advantage of cooperation in the securing of clustered resources enhanced selective pressure on cooperation, even if that implies increased individual mortality for the most altruistic warriors. Troubling, these results suggest that extreme weather, possibly as a result of climate change, could exacerbate conflict in sensitive, weather-dependent social-ecologies—especially places like the Horn of Africa where ecologically sensitive economic modalities overlap with high-levels of diversity and the wide-availability of small arms. As well, global development and foreign aid strategists should consider how plans may increase the value of particular locations where community resources are built or aid is distributed, potentially instigating tribal conflict. In sum, these factors, interacting with pre-existing social dynamics dynamics, may heighten inter-ethnic or tribal conflict in pluralistic but otherwise peaceful communities.

For special issue submission in JASSS.

This program simulates a group of hunter-gatherer (households) moving randomly over an artificial landscapoe pulated with resources randomly distributed (a Gaussian distribution). To survive, agents hunt and gather using their own labor resources and available technology. When labor and technology is not enough to compensate the resource difficulty of access, they need to cooperate. The purpose of the model is to analyze the consequences of cooperation on cultural diversity: the more the agents cooperate, the more their culture (a 10 componenet vector) is updated to imitate the culture of cooperative agents. The less the agent cooperates, the more different its culture becomes.

Network structures tutorial

Tom Brughmans | Published Sun Sep 30 08:32:57 2018 | Last modified Tue Oct 2 09:48:18 2018

A draft model with some useful code for creating different network structures using the Netlogo NW extension. This model is used for the following tutorial:
Brughmans, T. (2018). Network structures and assembling code in Netlogo, Tutorial, .

Importing a Roman transport network

Tom Brughmans | Published Sun Sep 30 08:50:43 2018

A draft model teaching how a Roman transport model can be imported into Netlogo, and the issues confronted when importing and reusing open access Roman datasets. This model is used for the tutorial:
Brughmans, T. (2018). Importing a Roman Transport network with Netlogo, Tutorial, .

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.

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