Assessing the Safety of (Numerical) Representation in Social Simulation

By: Bruce Edmonds
Date: 15th Sept 2005
CPM Report No.: CPM-05-153

Presented at the ESSA 2005 conference in September in Koblenz, Germany.


The nature and function of representation in social simulation is analysed into the: representational; necessary; and significant.  Conditions for a reliable use of a simulation are then formulated.  The special case of numerical representation is then considered.  Three simulations that use numerical representation at their heart are discussed, one in detail.  It is found that small changes in the representation (ones indistguishable using observation) can cause significant changes in the outcomes, and so are unsafe in terms of informing us about the target phenomena. 

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