Department of Computational Social Science Seminar Abstract

Friday, November 2 - 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
Third Floor, Research Hall

Title: Fire Flight: An Agent-Based Model of Citizen Response to the Colorado Wildfires

Sarah Wise
CSS PhD Student
George Mason University

Abstract: One of the great challenges in modern crisis relief efforts is how to distribute workers and resources to reflect the needs of the affected population, in part because it can be so difficult to determine the nature of those needs. Accurate, timely, precise information allows organizations to deploy their scarce resources where they can do the most good. However, predicting aggregate patterns of need under rapidly changing and unusual conditions can be challenging. In this paper I construct a model of refugee response to the Colorado wildfires, attempting to project the movement patterns of citizens as they are impacted by the developing crisis. The agent-based model employs publicly available data to build the transportation network and regional geography, so that the behavioral agents operate within a realistic and spatially explicit environment. The simulation results are validated against real reports of refugee displacement in Colorado to determine the effectiveness of the model in predicting civilian response to the crisis.