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espace at MMU > Research Institutes > Dalton Research Institute > Computer Science > Computational simulation as theoretical experiment

Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2173/87780
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Title: Computational simulation as theoretical experiment
Authors: Edmonds, Bruce
Citation: Journal of Mathematical Sociology, 2005, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 209-232
Publisher: Taylor & Francis Inc.
Issue Date: 1-Jul-2005
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2173/87780
DOI: 10.1080/00222500590921283
Additional Links: http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/titles/0022250x.asp
Abstract: Agent-based simulation can help establish the possibility and characteristics of emergent processes. However the simulation is meaningless without an accompanying interpretation. We argue that the original context needs to be carried with the simulation so as to limit excess generalization from such models. The simulation becomes a theoretical experiment which mediates between observations of the phenomena and natural language descriptions. Replication and exploration of simulations can start to identify the extent of their validity, and thus pave the way for cautions and limited generalization of results. This is illustrated by reimplementing and re-examining two established models. Schelling's model of racial segregation is shown to give counter-intuitive results when pushed out of its intended context—the domain of valid interpretation is narrower than that covered by the whole the model. Takahashi's model of generalized exchange is shown to have included unnecessary assumptions. In this case the domain of valid interpretation is wider than the model (at least in this aspect). A tag-based variation is described where generalized exchange is shown to emerge without information about the past behavior of others.
Type: Article
Language: en
Description: This article was originally published following peer-review in Journal of Mathematical Sociology, published by and copyright Taylor & Francis Inc.
Keywords: Simulation
Experiment
Exchange
Context
Segregation
Agent-based
ISSN: 0022-250X
1545-5874
Appears in Collections: Computer Science

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