Centre for Policy Modelling News

News from the Centre for Policy Modelling, including announcements of: new papers, special issues, books, workshops, projects, jobs and study opportunities.

05 February, 2016

New Model: A model of making

This is a model of individuals constructing, taking apart, using tools, buying and selling objects – a model of making itself. The world of objects is an artificial world of 1D strings, but where there are complex affordances and constraints which make plans (the steps of how to make a particular object) are valuable.

The purpose of this model is to provide the simulation infrastructure needed in order to model the activity of making. That is individuals using resources they can find in their environment plus other things that other individuals might sell or give them, to design, construct and deconstruct items, some of which will be of direct use to themselves, some of which they might sell or give to others and some of which might be used as a tool to help in these activities. It explicitly represents plans and complex objects as separate entities in the model – embedding the “Atoms – Bits” distinction highlighted within the DiDIY project. This allows plans to be shared between agents which give the steps of how to make objects of use – either on a commercial or a free basis.

The framework is intended as a basis upon which many, more specific, models could be constructed, allowing the exploration of a variety of “what if” or counterfactual possibilities and thus give a concrete but dynamic and complex instantiation of the issues and situations discussed within the DiDIY project.

The model and its documentation are freely available at:


Some slides introducing the model to the DiDIY project available at:


2 ABM PhD scholarships available

There are the following opportunities for phd Scholarships at the CPM in Manchester on the following topics:
Integrating Data Mining and Agent-based simulation – applied to Manchester “Troubled Family” data

Modelling the Dynamics of Town Centre Change
This is a scholarship competition, so the positions will only give to the best students applying (regardless of the subject you apply for). For the process and conditions see http://www2.mmu.ac.uk/research/research-study/scholarships/

Deadline 9am GMT 21 March 2016.

17 October, 2015

New discussion paper: Culture trumps ethnicity! – Intra-generational cultural evolution and ethnocentrism in an artificial society

Culture trumps ethnicity! – Intra-generational cultural evolution and ethnocentrism in an artificial society

By David Hales and Bruce Edmonds

CPM discussion paper: CPM-15-256

Abstract. Ethnocentrism denotes behaviour and beliefs that are positive towards those who share the same ethnicity and negative towards others. Recent artificial society models have been interpreted as demonstrating how ethnocentrism might evolve under minimal assumptions. In these, evolution is modelled over generations of agents where new agents are born inheriting the ethnicity, behaviours and location of their parents. Behaviour does not change within generations but over many generations and agents only interact with their neighbours. We present a model that considers short-term cultural adaption, where agents may interact with any in a population and do not die or give birth but imitate and innovate their behaviours. While agents have a fixed ethnicity, they have the ability to form and join cultural groups and to change how they define their in-group based on both ethnic and cultural markers (or tags). We find that over a range of parameters cultural identity, rather than ethnocentrism, becomes the dominant way that agents identify their in-group producing high levels of positive interaction both within and between ethnicities. However, in some circumstances, cultural markers of group preference are supplemented by ethnic markers. In other words, whilst pure ethnocentrism (based only on ethnic identity only) is not sustained, groups that discriminate in terms of a combination of cultural and ethnic identities do occur. In these less common cases, high levels of ethnocentric behaviours evolve and persist – even though the ethnic markers are arbitrary and fixed – but they only emerge when combined with culture centric behaviour. Furthermore, cooperative ethnocentric groups do not emerge in the absence of cultural processes. The latter suggests the hypothesis that observed ethnocentrism in observed societies need not be the result of long-term historical processes based upon ethnic markers but could be more dependent upon short run cultural ones. We discuss these results as well as the dangers of over interpretation of models like this.

Paper at: http://cfpm.org/discussionpapers/152

Model at:  http://www.openabm.org/model/4744

16 October, 2015

Welcome to two Marie-Curie Early Stage Researchers

Lia Aodha and Liz Molina are joining us to study for PhDs under the Marie-Curie SAF21 project (Social Science Aspects of Fisheries for the 21st Century).

Lia will be studying trust in fisheries management using agent-based simulation, and Liz will be looking at how to visualise complex fisheries issues for the general public.

30 September, 2015

Free 2-Day Introduction to Agent-Based Modelling, 3&4 Nov, Manchester

We are re-running this 2-day introduction to agent-based simulation again in Manchester on the 3rd&4th November 2015. This is free but places are limited, so you will need to apply. Priority will be given to early stage researchers and government/voluntary sector analysts.

Details, including how to apply are at: http://cfpm.org/simulationcourse/free-2-day-introduction-to-agent-based-modelling-course-34-nov-2015/