Friday, March 18, 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity
3rd Floor Research Hall

Tom Dover, PhD Candidate
Computational Social Science Program
Department of Computational and Data Sciences
George Mason University

Toward Implementing a Complex Social Simulation of the Offending Process: The promise of a synthetic offender

ABSTRACT: There are limitations to traditional methods of capturing the dynamics of violent interactions. These limitations are due to outcome driven approaches, data sampling issues, and inadequate means to capture, express, and explore the complexity of behavioral processes. To address these challenges, it is proposed that “violent offending” be re-framed as an emergent feature of a complex adaptive social system. This talk will abstract and illustrate the computational implementation of a theoretical framework of the violent offending process that forms the basis of a complex social simulation of the violent offending process. The primary outcome of this effort is a viable synthetic offender that emerges from simulated interactions between potential offenders (subjects) and potential victims (targets) within an environment. The results of calibrating this model to a real-world murder series are discussed, as well as, the comparison metrics used to assess goodness of fit of simulated and real-world event-sites. A synthetic offender promises valuable insights into individual offending trajectories, offender tactical processes, and the emergence of geospatial and temporal behaviors. Furthermore this approach is capable of reproducing the violent offending process with sufficient detail to contribute new scientific understanding and actionable insights.