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Methods for Exploring Simulation Models

Raimbault, J; Pumain, D; (2019) Methods for Exploring Simulation Models. In: Pumain, Denise, (ed.) Geographical Modeling: Cities and Territories. (pp. 125-150). Wiley: London, UK. Green open access

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Simulation models are an absolute necessity in the human and social sciences, which can only very exceptionally use experimental science methods to construct their knowledge. Models enable the simulation of social processes by replacing the complex interplay of individual and collective actions and reactions with simpler mathematical or computer mechanisms, making it easier to understand the relationships between the causes and the consequences of these interactions and to make predictions. As the formalism of mathematical models offering analytical solutions is often not suitable for representing social complexity, more and more agent-based computer models are being used. For a long time, the limited computing capacities of computers have hampered programming models that would take into account the interactions between large numbers of geographically located entities (persons or territories). In principle, these models should inform the conditions for the emergence of certain patterns defined at a macro-geographic level from the interactions occurring at a micro-geographic level, in systems whose behaviors are too complex to be understood directly by a human brain. Moreover, it is also necessary to analyze the dynamic behavior of these models with nonlinear feedback effects and verify that they produce plausible results at all stages of their simulation. This essential work of exploring the dynamics of modeled systems remained in its infancy until the late 2010s. Since then, algorithms combining more sophisticated methods, including genetic algorithms and the use of distributed intensive computing, have made it possible to make a significant qualitative leap forward in the exploration and validation of models. The result is an epistemological turn for the human and social sciences, as indicated by the latest applications realized with the help of the OpenMOLE platform presented here.

Type: Book chapter
Title: Methods for Exploring Simulation Models
ISBN-13: 9781786304902
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1002/9781119687290.ch5
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/9781119687290.ch5
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: computer program, NetLogo language, OpenMOLE platform, Scala programming language, simulation model, social science, the SimpopLocal model
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10090774
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