Complexity, Agents, Volatility, Evidence and Scale



The CAVES project is organised jointly around clusters of models and three detailed case studies.

The initial work of the project will use both statistical and qualitative data brought to the project by participating partners to develop an initial set of models with detailed representations of individuals, their behaviour, the choices of other individuals with whom to interact, who they influence and by whom they allow themselves to be influenced, their goals and their aversions.

The first third of the project will be devoted to developing additional evidence and elaborating the detailed, fine grain models. There will be ongoing detailed validation of these models for all three case studies. Our understanding of the socio-political contexts and the interactions between human society and the physical and biological environment will be developed by means of this iterative validation process.

The second third of the project will concentrate on the development of more coarse grain models in which individuals are represented by simpler agents with less well elaborated behaviour, less subtlety in the representation of their goals and choices of interacting agents and patterns of influence. The purpose of this second set of models is to investigate how well the detailed, fine grain models scale up with the number of agents.

The third phase of the project will focus on the development of models with agent and environmental representations that abstract from socio-political and specific biogeophysical contexts. An example of such representations is the use of digit strings to represent agent and environmental characteristics and actions. There are three purposes of this phase of the project.

  • The first is to produce models that can be sufficiently abstract and simplified that we can identify both common elements and important differences among the individual case study models.
  • The second purpose is to produce models that are sufficiently abstract as to support comparisons between the CAVES project models and network models based on statistical mechanics without doing violence to the assumptions and specifications of the more concrete case study models.
  • The third purpose is to investigate the possibility of closed form solutions to at least parts of the models.

Any additional understanding of the relationships captured in the concrete models as a result of these more abstract representations will be used to inform the analysis of the social processes that have been found relevant to issues of land use change.

Page last modified on October 16, 2006, at 05:41 PM