Wednesday, September 08, 2010

A prototype migration model

This week saw many members of the Computational Social Science Department and the Center of Social Complexity attend the 3rd World Congress on Social Simulation in Kassel, Germany. Chris Rouly and myself presented some ongoing work entitled "A prototype, multi-agent system for the study of the Peopling of the Western Hemisphere". Below is the abstract of the paper:

"We describe the interim state of development of a prototype, multiagent system (MAS) model for studying the Peopling of the Western Hemisphere. The model is part of a computational analysis of proxy evidence associable with late Pleistocene human migrations. In particular, we examine an out-of-Europe migratory theory some suggest occurred late in the Pleistocene.

The migratory theory we examine is the Bradley-Stanford Solutrean-Clovis Hypothesis [1]. To date, natural decay and terrestrial location has produced only limited circumstantial [3], genomic [2], and lithic [4] evidence supporting conclusions pertaining to this specific theoretic event. The work described here constitutes the foundation steps for a coherent body of computational social science whose intent is a thorough investigation of the several hypothesized routes often suggested as migratory thoroughfares for early hunter-gatherer peoples into the Western Hemisphere. We use a biologically detailed, temporally articulated, spatially accurate, and empirically driven MAS."
While this research is ongoing if you would like to read more, see the paper below:

Rouly, O. V. and Crooks, A. T. (2010), A Prototype, Multi-agent System for the Study of the Peopling of the Western Hemisphere, in Ernst, A. and Kuhn, S. (eds) Proceedings of the 3rd World Congress on Social Simulation (WCSS2010): Scientific Advances in Understanding Societal Processes and Dynamics, Kassel, Germany. (pdf

Part of the model is modeling the extent of the ice sheet ("Deep Freeze") component of the model. The movie below shows the growth of the simplified ice sheet used in the simulation during the last ice age (from 25,000 to 16,000 years ago):

In addition to showing the total simulation of the Ice Sheet we also model the annual ice sheet movement (fluctuation), in the sense that while we model the growth and decline of the ice during the last glaciation we also model the ice sheets yearly flux:

The agents in the model are individual hunter-gatherers who move around the spatially explicit environment. The can form cohorts/groups. They forage for food and can migrate over the environment. We try to highlight this in the movie below:

To provide an idea of the simulation environment we are currently developing the movie below shows the GUI of the model focusing on a simulated year where our hunter-gatherers forage for food:

As noted at the beginning of this post, this is some initial research, a foray if you like and the model is classed as a prototype. It is not the final model by any stretch of the imagination. Any thoughts or comments are most welcome.


1. Bradley, B., Stanford, D.: The North Atlantic Ice-edge Corridor: A Possible Paleolithic Route to the New World. World Archaeology. 36 (2004) 459–478
2. Fagundes, N. J. R., Kanitz, R., Eckert, R., Valls, A. C. S., Bogo, M. R., Salzano, F. M., Smith, D. G., Silva Jr., W. A., Zago, M. A., Ribeiro-dos-Santos, A. K., Santos, S. E. B., Petzl-Erler, M. L., Bonatto, S. L.: Mitochondrial Population Genomics Supports a Single Pre-Clovis Origin with a Coastal Route for the Peopling of the Americas. The American Journal of Human Genetics. 82 (2008) 583–592
3. Goebel, T., Waters, T., O’Rourke, D.: The Late Pleistocene Dispersal of Modern Humans in the Americas. Science. 319 (2008) 1497–1502
4. Lowery, O., O’Neal, M., Wah, J., Wagner, D., Stanford, D.: Late Pleistocene Upland
Stratigraphy of the Western Delmarva Peninsula, USA. Quaternary Science Reviews. 29 (2010) 1472–1480

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