Saturday, October 07, 2017

Generation of Realistic Mega-City Populations and Social Networks for ABM

At the upcoming 2017 Annual conference of the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas, Annetta Burger, Talha Oz, William Kennedy and myself have a paper entitled: "Generation of Realistic Mega-City Populations and Social Networks for Agent-Based Modeling". 

In the paper we discuss some of our current work of generating synthetic human populations with realistic social networks with respect to the New York mega-city and surrounding region. Below you can read the abstract of the paper and see our workflow along with some initial results. The full reference to the paper and a link to the pdf can be found at the bottom of the post.

Agent-based modeling is a means for researchers to conduct large-scale computer experiments on synthetic human populations and study their behaviors under different conditions. These models have been applied to questions regarding disease spread in epidemiology, terrorist and criminal activity in sociology, and traffic and commuting patterns in urban studies. However, developing realistic control populations remains a key challenge for the research and experimentation. Modelers must balance the need for representative, heterogeneous populations with the computational costs of developing large population sets. Increasingly these models also need to include the social network relationships within populations that influence social interactions and behavioral patterns. To address this we used a mixed method of iterative proportional fitting and network generation to build a synthesized subset population of the New York megacity and region. Our approach demonstrates how a robust population and social network relevant to specific human behavior can be synthesized for agent-based models. 

Keywords: Agent-based Models, Geographical Systems, Population Synthesis, Social Networks, Megacity.

Full Reference: 
Burger, A., Oz, T., Crooks, A.T. and Kennedy, W.G. (2017). Generation of Realistic Mega-City Populations and Social Networks for Agent-Based Modeling, The Computational Social Science Society of Americas Conference, Santa Fe, NM. (pdf)

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