September 10-14, 2007, Toulouse, France

Invited Speakers

Invited Speakers

Marco Janssen
Assistant Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change
Assistant Professor in the School of Computing and Informatics
Arizona State University, USA.

Changing the rules of the game: experiments with humans and virtual agents

Many resource problems can be classified as commons dilemmas, a dilemma between the interest of the individual and the interest of the group as a whole. During the last decades substantial progress has been made in understanding how people can avoid the tragedy of the commons. However, we lack good understanding how people change institutional arrangements over time in an effective way in an environment with dynamic resources.
I will discuss the initial results of a project where we look at innovation of institutional arrangements in common pool resource management where we combine laboratory and field experiments with agent-based modeling. In laboratory experiments groups share resources in a dynamic spatially explicit virtual environment, while the pencil and paper field experiments in Colombia and Thailand include various types of resources (fishery, foresty and irrigation). Using the individual level data derived from the experiments we develop and test agent-based models to derive better understanding of the experimental data. We also use the agent-based models to explore the evolution of institutional rules in various contexts that we could not (yet) experiment with.
Going back and forth between experiments with humans and virtual agents is a fruitful way to develop empirically-based agent-based models. I will discuss methodological challenges experienced in this project as well as initial results of the various models.

David Hales
University of Bologna

Social Simulation for Self-Star Systems: An idea whose time has come?

"I will talk about, what I believe, are the increasing similarities between open problems in distributed systems engineering and recent research topics in agent-based social simulation. Specifically, engineers of software components in massive (millions of entities) open systems are asking how those components can come to self-organise, self-repair and self-manage in a bottom-up manor: so called self-* systems. Inspiration has been drawn from biological systems and also, but more rarely, social systems. Yet many of the questions agent-based social simulators address are central to key engineering issues in self-* systems:
  • Emergence and Self-organistaion: Understanding the Micro to Macro AND Macro to Micro link
  • Cooperation and Trust: Getting disparate components to "hang-together" even with bad guys around
  • Evolving network structures: Constructing and maintaining functional topologies robustly
  • Constructing adaptive / evolutionary heuristics rather than rational action models
I will argue that application of the wealth of ideas coming from agent-based social simulation to self-* systems engineering is now, more than ever, a viable research objective. An idea whose time has finally come. I will give an overview of the emerging Self-* research area and indicate areas where social simulation has already had, and may in the near future have, major impact. I will discuss briefly how the engineering and social simulation modeling methodologies may be combined productively. I will give a detailed example of some of my recent work applying novel group selection models for cooperation in peer-to-peer systems. I will also highlight some possible obstacles and worrying developments that could hold back progress in this area and how we, as a scientific community, might tackle them.
The Fourth ESSA Conference (ESSA 2007), Sept. 10-14, Toulouse, FRANCE
Last updated (JMT):