Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract

Friday, 6th November

Modeling the Fairfax County Alcohol System

Yasmin Said, Computational and Data Sciences, George Mason University

Users of alcohol are incorporated into a societal system, which for many purposes resembles an ecological system. An understanding of how this ecological alcohol system works provides an opportunity to evaluate effectiveness of interventions. I use a hybrid directed graph social network model calibrated with conditional probabilities derived from actual data with the idea of reproducing the experience of acute outcomes reflecting undesirable individual and societal outcomes. In the present model, I also approximate geospatial effects related to transportation as well as temporal effects. Drinking behaviors among underage users can be particularly harmful from both a societal and individual perspective. Using the model based on data from experiences in Fairfax County, Virginia, I am able to reproduce the multinomial probability distribution of acute outcomes with high accuracy using a microsimulation of all residents of Fairfax, approximately 1,000,000 agents simulated. By adjusting conditional probabilities corresponding to interventions, I am able to simulate the effects of those interventions. This methodology provides an effective tool for investigating the impact of interventions and thus provides guidance for public policy related to alcohol use.