Discussion papers

CPM-03-110 - 31 March 2003

Comparative analysis of agent-based social simulations: GeoSim and FEARLUS models

Claudio Cioffi-Revilla (George Mason University, USA) and Nicholas M. Gotts (Macaulay Institute, Scotland)

Presented at the “Model to Model” workshop, 31st March/1st April 2003, Marseille.


In this paper we compare models of two different kinds of processes in multi-agent-based social simulations (MABSS): military conflict within a states-system (GeoSim), and land use and ownership change (FEARLUS). This is a kind of model-to-model comparison which is novel within MABSS research, although well-known within mathematics, physics and biology: comparing objects (in this case MABSS) drawn from distinct research domains, in order to draw out their structural similarities and differences. This can facilitate research in both domains, by allowing the use of findings from each to illuminate the other. Based on the similarities between FEARLUS and GeoSim, we conclude by identifying a new class of MABS (multi-agent-based simulation) models based on territorial resource allocation processes occurring on a 2-dimensional space (which we define as the “TRAP2” class). The existence of the cross-domain TRAP2 class of models in turn suggests that MABS researchers should look for other members of the class, sharing some of the properties or dynamics common to the GeoSim and FEARLUS models compared in this study: a systematic comparison of a set of related models from a range of apparently distinct domains should generate insights into both MABS modeling, and the domains concerned.