Social Science From The Bottom Up


This week we're going to look at one researcher's work as it relates to multi-agent modelling. Specifically, Epstein & Axtell's Growing artificial societies book will be the centerpiece of this week's work; we will also look at some models based on this work and subsequently derived from it.

Questions and tasks

  1. Reading for this week:
    1. Read the following from ''Growing artificial societies''.
      • You have already read Chapter 1.
      • Now you need to read Chapters 2-4 and 6.
    2. Work with the Sugarscape models (under "Social Science" in the Model Library). You should work with one more closely as you explore your chapter.
    3. After reading the book, look through both of the following presentations:
      • "Growing artificial societies" by Ian Nunn.
      • "Exploring the Sugarscape" (refers to the new wealth distribution model which you should download and play with)
    4. You have already read "Seeing around corners" by Jonathan Rauch.
  2. Here's what you'll do next class:
    1. If you're taking this class for credit, you will be responsible for discussing (for up to 45 minutes, if necessary) one of Chapters 2—4 and its associated model. Indicate which chapter you will be discussing in the table below. You can assume that you'll have a computer available to you for both presentation software and showing the model. As the chapters progress, you will be responsible for describing how your simulation/chapter fits in with the others; further you should discuss the ideas in the chapter and how they're reflected (well, or not) in the model.
    2. By 8am on Thurs, in the table below you should both load the files and put pointers to web pages that you will use in your presentation. I want to have time to look at it before class. If you are doing some type of PowerPoint (or PDF slides), the presentation shouldn't have more than 6 slides in it. You can assume that your audience has read your chapter and all of the associated resources indicated for this week. Your goals are to teach us, and to highlight the important concepts and the nuances of the model.
    3. If you're just sitting in this class, you will be responsible for contributing to the discussion of one of the chapters.
Chapter Discussion leader Resources
2 Andrea Chapter 2
3 student
4 Suresh Chapter 4 – Sugar & Spice – Trade.ppt Notes from experiments.docx
new wealth student

Part of your task when presenting a chapter (and, subsequently, leading the ensuing discussion) is to discuss whether or not this book (and, specifically, your chapter) is good science. If you think it can be improved, present specific recommendations for how it might have been (or could still be) improved. Your presentation should discuss the concepts covered in the chapter and should also demonstrate a model (where appropriate).

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