[p2p-research] Building Alliances (literature references)

Paul D. Fernhout pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com
Sat Nov 7 16:44:03 CET 2009

Thanks for the current references.

This is from 1996, but may be of interest:
   "Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science From the Bottom Up" by 
Joshua M. Epstein and Robert Axtell, Brookings Institution Press and MIT 
Press 1996 c. 228pp.
How do social structures and group behaviors arise from the interaction of 
individuals? In this groundbreaking study, Joshua M. Epstein and Robert L. 
Axtell approach this age-old question with cutting-edge computer simulation 
techniques. Such fundamental collective behaviors as group formation, 
cultural transmission, combat, and trade are seen to "emerge" from the 
interaction of individual agents following simple local rules.
   In their computer model, Epstein and Axtell begin the development of a 
"bottom up" social science. Their program, named Sugarscape, simulates the 
behavior of artificial people (agents) located on a landscape of a 
generalized resource (sugar). Agents are born onto the Sugarscape with a 
vision, a metabolism, a speed, and other genetic attributes. Their movement 
is governed by a simple local rule: "look around as far as you can; find the 
spot with the most sugar; go there and eat the sugar." Every time an agent 
moves, it burns sugar at an amount equal to its metabolic rate. Agents die 
if and when they burn up all their sugar. A remarkable range of social 
phenomena emerge. For example, when seasons are introduced, migration and 
hibernation can be observed. Agents are accumulating sugar at all times, so 
there is always a distribution of wealth.

My wife did some related stuff in the 1980s (a simulation of foraging under 
informational constraints, as part of her graduate work).

I had a related project about the simulation of chaordic processes that got 
put on the back burner when we had a kid:
Most of the links have rotted in the mailing lists there, but the few posts 
might be of interest:

One useful link from there that is still good:
   "Individual-Based Models: an annotated list of links"

--Paul Fernhout

Stan Rhodes wrote:
> Paul,
> Depending on how familiar you are with game theory, may I suggest Herbert
> Gintis' newest work, The Bounds of Reason, which begins unifying the
> behavioral sciences using game theory as part of the glue, with the book as
> a sort of first Rosetta stone.  If you are not "up to snuff" on game theory,
> I would suggest Gintis' Game Theory Evolving.  I would also suggest looking
> at his faculty page, which contains a lot of free access papers.  Beware, I
> have found some typos in The Bounds of Reason, but Gintis uses the Amazon
> forums on his books for errata for his books, and sometimes supplementary
> information.
> Samuel Bowles is a frequent co-author of his, and co-authored the paper on
> intergenerational wealth Ryan recently linked from Science Magazine.  He has
> made a number of contributions worth perusing.
> Colin Camerer is another prolific author intersecting the realms of
> behavioral game theory and neuroeconomics.  His faculty page also contains a
> lot of papers.
> I have not brought any of this up because 1) I am working on being "up to
> snuff" myself, so I could badly misrepresent it; and 2) it seemed too hard
> science and math for conversations in the list.
> I have little knowledge of complex adaptive systems yet either, although I
> do have Miller and Page's Complex Adaptive Systems: An Introduction to
> Computational Models of Social Life.  It's endorsed on the back by Kenneth
> Arrow, Samuel Bowles, and Elinor Ostrom.
> I'll leave you with that for now, and sleep.
> -- Stan
> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 11:54 PM, J. Andrew Rogers
> <reality.miner at gmail.com>wrote:
>> On Fri, Nov 6, 2009 at 9:36 PM, Paul D. Fernhout
>> <pdfernhout at kurtz-fernhout.com> wrote:
>>> Any references to the literature would be appreciated.
>> It has been a few years since I looked into it, but you are looking
>> for algorithmic game theory and topology theory, with some diversions
>> into a few other fields (like decision theory).  Unfortunately, there
>> is not a well-organized body of literature.  Depending on the
>> application, people come into the theory from different directions.
>> --
>> J. Andrew Rogers
>> realityminer.blogspot.com
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