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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.
In a two-level hierarchical structure (consisting of the positions of managers and operators), persons holding these positions have a certain performance and the value of their own (personal perception in this, simplified, version of the model) perception of each other. The value of the perception of each other by agents is defined as a random variable that has a normal distribution (distribution parameters are set by the control elements of the interface).
In the world of the model, which is the space of perceptions, agents implement two strategies: rapprochement with agents that perceive positively and distance from agents that perceive negatively (both can be implemented, one of these strategies, or neither, the other strategy, which makes the agent stationary). Strategies are implemented in relation to those agents that are in the radius of perception (PerRadius).
The manager (Head) forms a team of agents. The performance of the group (the sum of the individual productivities of subordinates, weighted by the distance from the leader) varies depending on the position of the agents in space and the values of their individual productivities. Individual productivities, in the current version of the model, are set as a random variable distributed evenly on a numerical segment from 0 to 100. The manager forms the team 1) from agents that are in (organizational) radius (Op_Radius), 2) among agents that the manager perceives positively and / or negatively (both can be implemented, one of the specified rules, or neither, which means the refusal of the command formation).
Agents can (with a certain probability, given by the variable PrbltyOfDecisn%), in case of a negative perception of the manager, leave his group permanently.
It is possible in the model to change on the fly radii values, update the perception value across the entire population and the perception of an individual agent by its neighbors within the perception radius, and the probability values for a subordinate to make a decision about leaving the group.
You can also change the set of strategies for moving agents and strategies for recruiting a team manager. It is possible to add a randomness factor to the movement of agents (Stoch_Motion_Speed, the default is set to 0, that is, there are no random movements).
The purpose of the simulation was to explore and better understand the process of bridging between an analysis of qualitative data and the specification of a simulation. This may be developed for more serious processes later but at the moment it is merely an illustration.
This exercise was done by Stephanie Dornschneider (School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin) and Bruce Edmonds to inform the discussion at the Lorentz workshop on “Integrating Qualitative and Quantitative Data using Social Simulation” at Leiden in April 2019. The qualitative data was collected and analysed by SD. The model specification was developed as the result of discussion by BE & SD. The model was programmed by BE. This is described in a paper submitted to Social Simulation 2019 and (to some extent) in the slides presented at the workshop.
This model is an extended version of the original MERCURY model (https://www.comses.net/codebases/4347/releases/1.1.0/ ) . It allows for experiments to be performed in which empirically informed population sizes of sites are included, that allow for the scaling of the number of tableware traders with the population of settlements, and for hypothesised production centres of four tablewares to be used in experiments.
Experiments performed with this population extension and substantive interpretations derived from them are published in:
Hanson, J.W. & T. Brughmans. In press. Settlement scale and economic networks in the Roman Empire, in T. Brughmans & A.I. Wilson (ed.) Simulating Roman Economies. Theories, Methods and Computational Models. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
This is a modification of a model published previous by Barton and Riel-Salvatore (2012). In this model, we simulate six regional populations within Last Glacial Maximum western Europe. Agents interact through reproduction and genetic markers attached to each of six regions mix through subsequent generations as a way to track population dynamics, mobility, and gene flow. In addition, the landscape is heterogeneous and affects agent mobility and, under certain scenarios, their odds of survival.
Brazil has initiated two territorial public policies for a rural sustainable development, the National Program for Sustainable Development of the Rural Territories (PRONAT) and Citizenship Territory Program (PTC). These public policies aims, as a condition for its effectiveness, the equilibrium of the power relations between actors which participate in the Collegiate for Territorial Development (CODETER) of each Rural Territory. Our research studies the hypotheses that, in the Rural Territories submitted to the PRONAT and PTC public policies, the power and reciprocity relations between actors engaged in the CODETER effectively have evolved in favor of the civil society representatives to the detriment of the public powers, notably the mayors.
The SocLab approach has been applied in two case studies and four models representing the Southern Rural Territory of Sergipe (TRSS) and the São Francisco Rural Territory (TRBSF) were designed for two referential periods, 2008-2012 and 2013-2017. These models were developed to evaluate the empowerment of the civil society in these rural territories due to thes two public policies, PRONAT and PTC.
The model proposes a translation of some Luhmann’s concepts (social sub-system, perturbation, dissipation, social communication and power) into a model using a stylized spatial-society as a metaphor of a Luhmann’s social subsystem. The model has been used to improve the social theory understanding and to evaluate the effect of different parameterization in the global stabilization and individual/social power distribution.