Context and Social Simulation

CPM Report No.: 10-210
By: Bruce Edmonds
Date: 30th Mar 2010

To be presented at EPOS 2010, Hamburg, June 2010.


Context is everywhere in the human social and cognitive spheres but it is often implicit and unnoticed.  Some possible reasons for this will be sketched below.  However, when one is involved in trying to understand and model the social and cognitive realms it becomes an important factor.  This paper is an analysis of the role and effects of context on social simulation and a call for it to be squarely faced by the social simulation community.

This paper starts with brief review of some the different kinds of context and what they are.  It then considers two, essentially different issues: firstly the issue of the context of a model and secondly the issue of including aspects of context-recognition and dependency in agents within simulations.  I do realise that putting both of these in one paper is inviting confusion, but I am keen to air both issues.  Thus the rest of this paper is in three sections: 

·         Section 2 is about context in general, including some of the different conceptions of it and its difficulties;

·         Section 3 discusses the context of a simulation;

·         and Section 4 talks about the representation of context within a simulation.

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