Computational Model Library

Peer reviewed Lethal Geometry

Kristin Crouse | Published Fri Feb 21 11:27:16 2020

LethalGeometry was developed to examine whether territory size influences the mortality risk for individuals within that territory. For animals who live in territoral groups and are lethally aggressive, we can expect that most aggression occurs along the periphery (or border) between two adjacent territories. For territories that are relatively large, the periphery makes up a proportionately small amount of the of the total territory size, suggesting that individuals in these territories might be less likely to die from these territorial skirmishes. LethalGeometry examines this geometric relationship between territory size and mortality risk under realistic assumptions of variable territory size and shape, variable border width, and stochastic interactions and movement.

The individuals (agents) are programmed to walk randomly about their environment, search for and eat food to obtain energy, reproduce if they can, and act aggressively toward individuals of other groups. During each simulation step, individuals analyze their environment and internal state to determine which actions to take. The actions available to individuals include moving, fighting, and giving birth.

Violence against women occurs predominantly in the family and domestic context. The COVID-19 pandemic led Brazil to recommend and, at times, impose social distancing, with the partial closure of economic activities, schools, and restrictions on events and public services. Preliminary evidence shows that intense co- existence increases domestic violence, while social distancing measures may have prevented access to public services and networks, information, and help. We propose an agent-based model (ABM), called VIDA, to illustrate and examine multi-causal factors that influence events that generate violence. A central part of the model is the multi-causal stress indicator, created as a probability trigger of domestic violence occurring within the family environment. Two experimental design tests were performed: (a) absence or presence of the deterrence system of domestic violence against women and measures to increase social distancing. VIDA presents comparative results for metropolitan regions and neighbourhoods considered in the experiments. Results suggest that social distancing measures, particularly those encouraging staying at home, may have increased domestic violence against women by about 10%. VIDA suggests further that more populated areas have comparatively fewer cases per hundred thousand women than less populous capitals or rural areas of urban concentrations. This paper contributes to the literature by formalising, to the best of our knowledge, the first model of domestic violence through agent-based modelling, using empirical detailed socioeconomic, demographic, educational, gender, and race data at the intraurban level (census sectors).

The SMASH model is an agent-based model of rural smallholder households. It models households’ evolving income and wealth, which they earn through crop sales. Wealth is carried in the form of livestock, which are grazed on an external rangeland (exogenous) and can be bought/sold as investment/coping mechanisms. The model includes a stylized representation of soil nutrient dynamics, modeling the inflows and outflows of organic and inorganic nitrogen from each household’s field.

The model has been applied to assess the resilience-enhancing effects of two different farm-level adaptation strategies: legume cover cropping and crop insurance. These two strategies interact with the model through different mechanims - legume cover cropping through ecological mechanisms and crop insurance through financial mechanisms. The model can be used to investigate the short- and long-term effects of these strategies, as well as how they may differently benefit different types of household.

This model simulates different seeding strategies for information diffusion in a social network adjusted to a case study area in rural Zambia. It systematically evaluates different criteria for seed selection (centrality measures and hierarchy), number of seeds, and interaction effects between seed selection criteria and set size.

Urban/Rural Adaptive Culture Model

Nick LaBerge | Published Sun Jul 19 20:29:41 2020

Contains python3 code used to replicate the culture model from the JASSS submission: “Modeling Cultural Dissemination and Divergence between Rural and Urban Regions.”

Peer reviewed Hydroman

Dean Massey Moira Zellner | Published Sat May 16 17:02:25 2020

Hydroman is a flexible spatially explicit model coupling human and hydrological processes to explore shallow water tables and land cover interactions in flat agricultural landscapes, modeled after the Argentine Pampas. Hydroman aligned well with established hydrological models, and was validated with water table patterns and crop yield observed in the study area.

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.

The model aims at reproducing the evolution of the land-use in an agricultural territory at the plot scale. It enables to simulate the affectation of land-use, the crop rotation and technical operations for each plot of the different farms of the territory. It allows as well for crop farms to simulate the daily state of plots (sowed, plowed, harvested, biomass indicator). The model is used as an input for the water pollution model allowing to determine the flow of nitrate, phosphorus and suspended matter in the territory according to the landscape configuration.

Local soy value chains in northern Ghana

Tim Verwaart | Published Thu Aug 29 17:54:49 2019

The purpose of the simulation is to evaluate alternative interventions by a value chain development program, aiming to improve rural livelihood and food and nutrition security. In northern Ghana, where distrust between the partners can be a problem in the functioning of value chains, the program supports the incorporation of smallholder farmers in soy clusters or agriculture APEX organization (farmers’ co-operatives) with a fair business environment. The goal is to to include the smallholder farmers in a strong value chain and reduce distrust.

The code shared here accompanies the paper at https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0208451. It simulates the effects of various economic trade scenarios on the phenomenon of the ‘disappearing middle’ in the Scottish beef and dairy farming industries. The ‘disappearing middle’ is a situation in which there is a simultaneous observed decline in medium-sized enterprises and rise in the number of small and large-scale enterprises.

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