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Dr. Paul M. Torrens, Center for Urban Science + Progress, New York University

Validating agent-based behavioral geography

Project overview | Eye candy | Support | Related groups
Project overview

Like all models, agent-based simulations are used to abstract from a more complicated reality, or to develop synthetic laboratories for exploring systems that are not amenable to investigation on the ground. Unlike most models, however, agent-based simulations allow for an unprecedented degree of detail to be introduced to a simulation. This makes it difficult to assess the fit of simulations to the real-world, to plans, to policies, or to theories. Traditional methods for validating simulations are often ill-suited to agent-based models, because of the complexity of the systems that they represent, and related problems of handling feedback, emergence, non-linearity, path-dependence, self-organization, scaling, and so on. These issues can become particularly problematic when dealing with socio-behavioral systems, for which distributions, truths, laws, and regularties are often unknown, fuzzy, or simply absent.

We are developing a set of methods, and related tools, for validating agent-based models of behavioral geography, based on the spatio-temporal properties of information flow in models of complex systems, and of the spacing and timing of agent behavior in simulation. This builds on our efforts to couple agent-based models and space-time GIS, and related projects to examine ways to accelerate agent-based computation.

Eye candy
The figure above illustrates movement generated by LÚvy flights, which scale the relative frequency and length of movement through space and time. This is the basis of some of our metrics, which examine the fractal scaling of behavioral geography.
The figure above illustrates a relative analysis of several movement paths through a constrained space. Other metrics in our toolkit use time geography as the basis for measurement.
nsf Torrens, P.M; Ghanem, Roger; Kevrekidis, Yannis (2010-2011). "Accelerating innovation in agent-based simulations: Application to complex socio-behavioral phenomena". National Science Foundation (Division of Civil and Mechanical Systems)
Torrens, P.M. (2007-2012) “CAREER: Exploring the dynamics of individual pedestrian and crowd behavior in dense urban settings: a computational approach”. National Science Foundation (Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER); Geography & Regional Science/ Methodology, Measurement, and Statistics)
Related groups
GAMMA group at University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill


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

Moving agents through space and time

validating agent based models

Validating agent-based models

machine learning GIS

Machine-learning behavioral geography

high performance computing urban simulation emergence

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