Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract

Friday, October 26 - 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
Research Hall, Third Floor

Title: Toward Validating the RiftLand Model of Household Decision-making

William Kennedy
Research Assistant Professor
Center for Social Complexity
George Mason University

Abstract: One of the major challenges of social simulations is the validation of the model. When modeling societies, where experimentation is not practical or ethical, validation of models is inherently difficult. However, one of the significant strengths of the Agent- Based Modeling (ABM) approach is that the approach begins with the implementation of a theory of behavior for relatively low-level agents and then produces high-level behaviors emerging from the low-level theory’s implementation. Our ABM model of societies in East Africa is based on modeling the decision making of rural households in a 1,600 km (1,000 mile) square around Lake Victoria. The presentation describes the first validation our model of households decision-making on a daily basis concerning making their living based on several steps up to comparing resulting strategies for a culture against societal data collected by anthropologists.