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Dr. Paul M. Torrens, Center for GIS, Department of Geographical Sciences, and UMIACS, University of Maryland

Agent-based models at the human-built interface

Project overview | Eye candy | Related groups
Project overview

This work seeks to extend on our development of behaviorally-realistic agents, by producing massive volumes of independently-acting, reacting, and interacting synthetic people within highly dynamic physical environments. In this way, we are trying to leverage the advantages of agent automata approaches in supporting simulations with both large numbers of agents, with detailed individual information-gathering abilities and activity. In many cases, this requires some demanding computing and in the simulations shown below, we use threaded computing on commercial desktop CPUs.

Below, we show some screenshots from our initial work in this area, coupling agent-based models of humans with dynamically brittle and collapsing built infrastructure following earthquake scenarios. For the agent-human components of the model, we scale from urban crowds of synthetic people (100,000 agents) to the kinesiology of their skeletal movement and fine-grained visual scans of their surroundings at 1/30th of a second windows of space-time. For the infrastructure components, we treat the rigid-body physics of entire downtown areas (Salt Lake City in the examples shown) down to the scale of crumbling bricks for the structures represented.

The main interest for us, in building a unified simulation system at this scale, is to pose substantive social science and behavioral science questions in the simulated worlds that we could not explore on the ground. We are particularly interested in behavioral geography under conditions of emergency and uncertainty; individual and collective movement and way-finding in unusual circumstances and settings; acquisition and use of geographic information in dynamic evolving environments; the ability of urban systems to respond to primary and secondary (knock-on) stresses; and the emergence of complexity in highly dynamic human-natural-built systems.

Eye candy

Related groups


GIS movement tracks

Big data movement analytics


climate indicators spatial analysis

Land indicators of climate

geosimulation high performance computing

High-performance computing and networking for geosimulation

earthquake model agent based GIS

Earthquake models

CA ice sheet model

Ice-sheet modeling

kinect control of GIS and robots
Robot motion control

simulating disasters ABM GIS
Human behavior in critical scenarios

crowd model riot model simulation wired

Modeling riots

physics engine GIS

Dynamic physics for built infrastructure

Moving agents through space and time

Validating agent-based models

Machine-learning behavioral geography

Accelerating agent-based models

megacity models

Megacity futures

immersive modeling

Immersive modeling

space-time GIS

Space-time GIS and analysis

measuring sprawl

A toolkit for measuring sprawl

space-time GIS

Modeling time, space, and behavior

simulating crowd behavior

Simulating crowd behavior

wi-fi geography

Wi-Fi geography

Simulating sprawl

Simulating sprawl