Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Project Geppetto

Project Geppetto from Autodesk attempts to make it it easy, fast, and fun to add crowds to 3ds Max scenes. It is part of Autodesk's  "People Power" concept, where the basic idea is to try to assemble all the components one needs to create, manage, and control large crowds of characters. Specificcally it attempts to create believable motion, allow for cultural influences (Evolver) and to create a framework for thousands of characters to interact in. Below are some examples of the project.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Book: Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems

Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems, is editied by Alison Heppenstall, Andrew Crooks,  Linda See and Mike Batty; and brings together a comprehensive set of papers on the background, theory, technical issues and applications of agent-based modelling (ABM) within geographical systems. This collection of papers (see below) is an invaluable reference point for the experienced agent-based modeller as well those new to the area. Specific geographical issues such as handling scale and space are dealt with as well as practical advice from leading experts about designing and creating ABMs, handling complexity, visualising and validating model outputs. With contributions from many of the world’s leading research institutions (see map below), the latest applied research (micro and macro applications) from around the globe exemplify what can be achieved in geographical context.

This book is relevant to researchers, postgraduate and advanced undergraduate students, and professionals in the areas of quantitative geography, spatial analysis, spatial modelling, social simulation modelling and geographical information sciences.

To see a sample of the book click here.

Book Contents:

Part 1: Computational Modelling: Techniques for Simulating Geographical Systems
  1. Perspectives on Agent-Based Models and Geographical Systems.
  2. A Generic Framework for Computational Spatial Modelling.
  3. A Review of Microsimulation and Hybrid Agent Based Approach.
  4. Cellular Automata in Urban Spatial Modelling.
  5. Introduction to Agent-Based Modelling.
Part 2: Principles and Concepts of Agent-Based Modelling.
  1. Agent-Based Models - Because they're Worth it?
  2. Agent-Based Modelling and Complexity.
  3. Designing and Building an Agent-Based Model.
  4. Modelling Human Behaviour in Agent-Based Models.
  5. Calibration and Validation of Agent-Based Models of Land Cover Change.
  6. Networks in Agent-Based Social Simulation.
Part 3: Methods, Techniques and Tools for the Design and Construction of Agent-Based Models:
  1. The Integration of Agent-Based Modelling and Geographical Information for Geospatial Simulation.
  2. Space in Agent-Based Models.
  3. Large Scale Agent-Based Modelling: A Review and Guidelines for Model Scaling.
  4. Uncertainty and Error.
  5. Agent-Based Extensions to a Spatial Microsimulation Model of Demographic Change.
  6. Designing, Formulating, and Communicating Agent-Based Models.
  7. Agent Tools Techniques and Methods for Macro and Microscopic Simulation.
Part 4: Fine-Scale, Micro Applications of Agent-Based Models:
  1. Using Agent-Based Models to Simulate Crime.
  2. Urban Geosimulation.
  3. Applied Pedestrian Modelling.
  4. Business Applications and Research Questions using Spatial Agent-Based Models.
  5. Using Agent-Based Models for Education Planning. Is the UK Education System Agent Based?
  6. Simulating Spatial Health Inequalities.
  7. ABM of Residential Mobility, Housing Choice and Regeneration.
  8. Do Land Markets Matter? A Modelling Ontology and Experimental Design to Test the Effects of Land Markets for an Agent-Based Model of Ex-urban Residential Land-Use Change.
  9. Exploring Coupled Housing and Land Market Interactions Through an Economic Agent-Based Model (CHALMS).
Part 5: Linking Agent-Based Models to Aggregate Applications Macro:
  1. Exploring Urban Dynamics in Latin American Cities using an Agent-Based Simulation Approach.
  2. An Agent-Based/Network Approach to Spatial Epidemics.
  3. An Agent-Based Modelling Application of Shifting Cultivation.
  4. Towards New Metrics for Urban Road Networks. Some Preliminary Evidence from Agent-Based Simulations.
  5. A Logistic Based Cellular Automata Model for Continuous Urban Growth Simulation: A Case Study of the Gold Coast City, Australia.
  6. Exploring Demographic and Lot Effects in an ABM/LUCC of Agriculture in the Brazilian Amazon.
  7. Beyond Zipf: An Agent Based Understanding of City Size Distributions.
  8. The Relationship of Dynamic Entropy Maximising and Agent Based Approaches in Urban Modelling.
  9. Multi-Agent System Modelling for Urban Systems: The Series of SIMPOP Models.
  10. Reflections and Conclusions: Geographical Models to Address Grand Challenges.

Reviews of the book:

By José Manuel Galán for Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation:
"To sum up, this book is an essential reference for any researcher in the field of ABM and geographical systems. Although a more than 700 pages book can scare everyone, the admirably collective effort to synthesize and provide an up-to-date overview of the most relevant methodological and applied works in the field is worth the challenge. Furthermore, it must be said that it can also be recommended to any reader interested in ABM in general, even if initially unconcerned about geographical applications. Indeed, the first book section covers most of the relevant topics to be considered as a primer in ABM, regardless of the context of application, especially the second ("Principles and Concepts of Agent-Based Modelling") and many chapters of the third part ("Methods, Techniques and Tools for the Design and Construction of Agent-Based Models")."
By Itzhak Benenson for International Journal of Geographical Information Science:
"To conclude, the 37 chapters of this fundamental volume provide a comprehensive perspective of the state of the art in the intensively developing field of modern geographic enquiry to the community of Agent-Based (AB) modelers in geography. I enjoyed reading the book and I am sure it will have an essential influence on the AB modeling community and inspire numerous further developments in the field."
By Suzana Dragićević for Environment and Planning B
"Overall, this edited book provides a comprehensive overview of the emerging area of ABM. Together, the chapters provide a rich source of bibliographic references, detailed illustrations to support visual understanding, and a logical presentation of the science behind ABM. This would make the book useful for a variety of target audiences ranging from established professionals who are interested in the current state of ABM to graduate and undergraduate students who need a systematic introduction to ABM. This book will be an essential reference text for academics, students, and decision makers who design and interpret spatial models to understand geographical processes."

World Map of authors who contributed to Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems

View Contributors to Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems in a larger map

To see a sample of the book click here.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

1st International Workshop on Advances in Computational Social Science

Call for papers for the 1st International Workshop on Advances in Computational Social Science in conjunction with 12th International Conference on Computational Science, June 4–6, 2012, Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

The workshop webpage is at

Advances in computational systems and methods (parallel, distributed, cloud; agents, networks) are revolutionizing how social science research is done. It is now possible to simulate entire cities, for example, in tremendous detail, not only in terms of technical infrastructures like traffic, but also in terms of the social choices of individuals and how these interact with each other to produce complex phenomena. At the same time, advances in informatics infrastructures mean that more data and more detailed data are collected. These data are not just on our physical environment, but are also along social dimensions. The confluence of these two developments open up many possibilities, and social scientists are now probing questions that they could never ask before. Frequently, asking these questions generate even more inquiry into the interfaces between social science, computer science, information science, and engineering.

In this workshop, we aim to provide a forum for computational social scientists to share advances made in their respective fields, and the innovations they have developed across disciplinary boundaries: on models, methods, data integration and analysis, as well as interpretation of diverse social phenomena. We also hope to foster an environment for earnest dialogue between social scientists keen to employ sophisticated computational models and methods in their research, and computer/information scientists and engineers interested in understanding social science problems.

We invite original research papers on the following topics:
  • Modeling methodologies
  • Simulation strategies and algorithms
  • Organization of heterogeneous social data
  • Data-mining and machine learning on social, behavioral, and economic data
  • Integration of social data into simulations
  • Computational studies of specific social science problems

Computational social science papers that are relevant to this workshop, but cannot be easily classified based on the topics above will also be considered.

Papers should be written in English, up to a page limit of 10 pages. The papers should follow the Procedia format, and be submitted electronically through the ICCS submission engine.

Please remember to select the workshop ADVANCES IN COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCES in the last field of the submissions page.

We ask authors to also send a note to after their submission.

All papers will be peer reviewed. Accepted papers will be published by Elsevier in the open-access Procedia Computer Science series. The proceedings will be available at the conference.

At least one author of an accepted paper must register for the ICCS 2012 conference to present the paper at the workshop.

A selected number of papers will be invited to be extended for inclusion in a special issue of the Journal of Computational Science.

Important Dates

Full paper submission: January 9, 2012
Notification of acceptance: February 9, 2012
Camera-ready papers: March 1, 2012
Early registration ends: April 15, 2012
Conference: June 4–6, 2012

Organizing Committee
Heiko AYDT Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Tibor BOSSE Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands
Siew Ann CHEONG Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Andrew CROOKS George Mason University, USA
Nicolas MALLESON University of Leeds, UK
Paul TORRENS University of Maryland, College Park, USA