Appended below are news items that might be of interest to researchers interested in agent-based computational economics (ACE), the computational study of economies modelled as evolving systems of autonomous interacting agents.
ACE news items are posted at the ACE website in batched html-document form about once every two months during the regular academic year (September--May). Whenever a new posting is made, a brief announcement giving a pointer to this posting is emailed to all participants in a moderated announcements-only Majordomo ACE news list. If you would like to subscribe to (unsubscribe from) this announcements-only ACE news list, please send an email message to email@example.com with the following message in the email body:
From the author: "If we have difficulties in economics with making sense of the evolutionary character of our economy, the reason is not in the historical record. The statistics and even our own casual experience do not fail to show us that economic life is changing tremendously. What hampers the understanding is the lack in economic theory of the proper heuristic frames, of concepts and material conjectures by which the hundreds and thousands of years of incessant economic transformations can be put into perspective. The work in this book is therefore not empirical and descriptive. Rather it is concerned with conceptual and methodological problems that need to be solved on the way to a theory of evolution in the economy."
Ulrich Witt is Professor of Economics and Director, Max Planck Institute for Research into Economic Systems, Jena, Germany.
From the authors: "We got tired of it. Lecturing to sleepy students who want to `go over' material that they have already highlighted in their textbooks so that they can remember the `key ideas' until midterm. We wanted to engage our students in active learning, to exploit their natural curiosity about economic affairs, and to get them to ponder the questions before we try to give them answers. We found that conducting economic experiments in class, with discussions before, during, and after the experiments, was an effective way of getting students to use economics to think about the world around them. (This book) is the result of our efforts." The second edition provides classroom experiments on the following topics: Competitive markets; market intervention and public policy; imperfect Markets; firms and technology (including network externalities); and information, auctions, and bargaining.
Theodore Bergstrom is Professor of Economics at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and John Miller is an Associate Professor of Economics at Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh.
From the publisher: "(This book) describes the state of the art of anticipatory learning classifier systems - adaptive rule learning systems that autonomously build anticipatory environmental models. An anticipatory model specifies all possible action-effects in an environment with respect to given situations. It can be used to simulate anticipatory adaptive behavior. ... (This book) gives a detailed algorithmic description as well as a program documentation of a C++ implementation of the system. It is an excellent reference for researchers interested in adaptive behavior and machine learning from a cognitive science perspective as well as those who are interested in combining evolutionary learning mechanisms for learning and optimization tasks."
Martin Butz is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
From Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.): "Strogatz is a Cornell mathematician and pioneer of the science of synchrony, which brings mathematics, physics, and biology to bear on the mystery of how spontaneous order occurs at every level of the cosmos, from the nucleus on up. In this eminently accessible and entertaining book..., Strogatz explores synchrony in chaos systems, at the quantum level, in small-world networks as exemplified by the parlor game `six degrees of Kevin Bacon' and in human behavior involving fads, mobs and the herd mentality of stock traders. The author traces how the isolated and often accidental discoveries of researcheres are beginning to get into the science of synchrony, and he amply illustrates how the laws of mathematics underlie the universe's uncanny capacity for spontaneous order."
Steven Strogatz is a Professor of Theoretical and Applied Mechanics and a member of the Center for Applied Mathematics at Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.
From the publisher: "(Watts is) the pioneering young scientist whose work on the structure of small worlds has triggered an avalanche of interest in networks. In this remarkable book, (he) sets out to explain the innovative research that he and other scientists are spearheading to create a blueprint of our connected planet. Whether they bind computers, economies, or terrorist organizations, networks are everywhere in the real world, yet only recently have scientists attempted to explain their mysterious workings."
Duncan Watts is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Columbia University.
From the publisher: "(This book) demonstrates, in a persuasive way, how computational organization theory can be applied to advance the field of management with its successful integration of theory and practice. At the theoretical level, the book contains a comprehensive computational framework called DYCORP, which simulates dynamic and interactive organizational behaviors by incorporating multiple factors such as organizational design, task environment, and stress, and which generates consistent and insightful propositions on organizational performance.... At the empirical level, this book describes an in-depth, though exploratory, analysis of sixty-nine organizational cases in the corporate world collected from multiple sources, which can provide contrast with and shed insight into the computational framework."
Zhiang (John) Lin is with the School of Management, University of Texas at Dallas, and Kathleen Carley is with the Institute for Software Research International, School of Computer Science, at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
From the publisher: "In this new book, Dennett shows that evolution is the key to resolving the ancient problems of moral and political freedom. Like the planet's atmosphere on which life depends, the conditions on which our freedom depends had to evolve, and like the atmosphere, they continue to evolve - and could be extinguished. According to Dennett, biology provides the perspective from which we can distinguish the varieties of freedom that matter. Throughout the history of life on this planet, an interacting web and internal and external conditions have provided the frameworks for the design of agents that are more free than their parts - from the unwitting gropings of the simplest life forms to the more informed activities of animals to the moral dilemmas that confront human beings living in societies."
Daniel C. Dennett is a University Professor and the Director of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University.
From Publisher's Weekley (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.): "The third in a series that began with Descarte's Error, this book deftly combines recent advances in neuroscience with charged meditations on foundational 17th-century philosopher Baruch Spinoza, and the result is Damasio's fullest report so far on the nature of feelings. ... Damasio makes a useful distinction between emotions, which are publicly observable body states, and feelings, which are mental states observable only to the person having them. ... Damasio goes on to connect his own views to Spinoza's and to sympathize with that thinker's `secular religiosity,' which identified God with nature. He ends by discussing spiritual feelings, which he relates to the `sense that the organism is functioning with the greatest possible perfection.'"
Antonio R. Damasio is the Van Allen Professor and Head of the Department of Neurology at the University of Iowa Medical Center and Adjunct Professor at the Salk Institute in San Diego.
From the publisher: "This work provides a comprehensive and authoritative account of the creation, development, and actions of IBM's Deep Blue technology group and how their computer defeated the world chess champion. Specialists and nonspecialists in AI and computing will discover a fascinating story of one of the major technological milestones in the history of computer science, as well as science in general."
Monty Newborn is at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Issue No. 2 of Volume 6 of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS), edited by Nigel Gilbert (University of Surrey), was published on March 31, 2003. This issue includes a special section on "Role-Playing Games, Models and Negotiation Processes," introduced by Olivier Barreteau. (Three additional papers on role-playing games and agent-based models will be published in the next issue of JASSS.) The issue also includes articles on the evolution of industries, on the general methodological foundations of computational sociology and mathematical sociology, on an agent-based implementation of von Thuenen's famous location model, and on the evolution of cooperative regimes in an iterated prisoner's dilemma game. The forum section includes a report on the Multi-Agent Based Simulation (MABS) 2002 Workshop held in Bologna, Italy. Finally, a number of book reviews are presented. JASSS is freely available, with no subscription necessary. Current and past issues can be accessed through the JASSS home page at http://www.soc.surrey.ac.uk/JASSS/.
From the journal home page hosted by the publisher (World Scientific): "Advances in Complex Systems (ACS) is a quarterly journal that aims to provide a unique medium of communication for multidisciplinary approaches, either empirical or theoretical, to the study of complex systems. Its goal is to promote cross-fertilization of ideas among all the scientific disciplines having to deal with their own complex systems, including biology, physics, engineering, economics, cognitive science, and the social sciences." For more information, visit http://www.worldscinet.com/acs/acs.shtml
The International Journal of Intelligent Games and Simulation (IJIGS) is a web-based refereed publication of the University of Wolverhampton, UK. The purpose of IJIGS is to disseminate recent research results and review current progress in computer games, with particular emphasis on the introduction of artificial intelligence into game development and the simulation of game designs incorporating artificial intelligence. For more information, visit http://www.scit.wlv.ac.uk/~cm1822/ijigs11.htm
Chris Cook (Computer Science Department, Iowa State University, Ames) has developed an interactive computer demo for an extended version of the Schelling Segregation Model (SSM), due to Thomas Schelling (Micromotives and Macrobehavior, Norton, 1978). Agents are located on a chess board with 64 locations. The user determines the population mix from among three agent types (red, green, and blue), or chooses from among various default settings. The user can also specify a "happiness rule" for each agent type or select a default setting. The happiness rule determines when an agent is happy with his current board location, taking into account both the number and the types of his neighbors. If unhappy, the agent either attempts to move to a more desirable board location or exits the board altogether.
Chris Cook has released his SSM demo as freeware under the GNU Public License. Automatic installation software for his SSM demo can be obtained at the "Schelling Segregation Model: Demonstration Software" site http://www.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/demos/schelling/schellhp.htm Also available at this site is a more detailed description of the SSM, a description of the SSM demo's capabilities, instructions for using the automatic installation software, a link for accessing the SSM demo source code (C#), and copyright information.
The Santa Fe Institute has open-sourced the Santa Fe Artificial Stock Market (ASM) simulation model, developed by a number of SFI researchers in Objective C using the Swarm toolkit. The lastest ASM-Swarm file releases can be downloaded from SourceForge.net, an open-source software repository, at http://sourceforge.net/projects/artstkmkt/ For pointers to research on the ASM and related work in agent-based computational finance, see http://www.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/afinance.htm
NetLogo is a multi-platform general purpose complexity modeling and simulation environment from the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (CCL), Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois. NetLogo comes with a large library of sample models and code examples that help beginning users get started authoring models. NetLogo is in use by research labs and university courses across a wide variety of domains in social and natural sciences. For a free download plus a users' guide, visit the NetLogo website at http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/
From UMBC AgentNews (v8n3): Cougaar is java-based software for facilitating the development of agent-based applications that are complex, large-scale, and distributed. The software includes not only the core architecture but also a variety of demonstration, visualization, and management components. It was developed as part of a multi-year DARPA research project into large scale agent systems. For more information, visit http://www.cougaar.org/
Karl Sims (GenArts, Inc., Cambridge, Massachusetts) has created a variety of interactive computer displays involving the evolution of 3D animated forms. For more information, visit http://web.genarts.com/karl/index.html
From UMBC AgentNews (v8n4): Tim Tyler maintains collections of interactive Java applet demonstrations relating to artificial life and texture generation at a site titled Lotus Artificial Life, accessible at http://alife.co.uk/
An ACE Interactive Computer Demos site has now been linked to the main ACE home page at http://www.econ.iastate.edu/tesfatsi/ace.htm maintained by L. Tesfatsion. The demos accessible at this site include ACE demos and general complex adaptive systems (CAS) demos of possible interest to ACE researchers. The purpose of this site is to facilitate the understanding of the ACE methodology by permitting people to obtain hands-on experience running simple ACE/CAS experiments under different parameter settings. The demos linked to date include: The Trade Network Game (TNG); the Santa Fe Artificial Stock Market (ASM); Avalanche (a value supply chain model); The Schelling Segregation Model; various NetLogo demos supplied by community users; cellular automata demos; Tierra; some of Karl Sim's interactive demos; and a variety of other artificial life demos.
Additional interactive demos will be added on a regular basis. If you have an interactive demo debugged and documented for public release that you believe might be of interest to ACE researchers, please contact L. Tesfatsion (firstname.lastname@example.org) regarding the possible linking of this demo at this new site.
The New England Complex Systems Institute (NECSI) is making available a new Complex Systems Web Guide that explains basic concepts, describes a variety of examples and applications, and illustrates various methods. The site will be expanded over the coming months. For more information, visit http://necsi.org/guide/
The Adaptive NetWorks (ANW) Laboratory, directed by Professor Andrew G. Barto (Department of Computer Science, University of Massachusetts, Amherst) focuses on both machine and biological learning. Areas of study include reinforcement learning, artificial neural networks, and biologically inspired models of motor control. Specific projects include: Reinforcement learning algorithms based on dynamic programming; multiple time-scale reinforcement learning; a control basis for learning and skill acquisition; modeling of cerebellum and premotor circuits; and combinatorial optimization and reinforcement learning. For more information, visit http://www-anw.cs.umass.edu/Projects/projects.html
Computational Learning Theory (COLT) is a research field devoted to studying the design and analysis of algorithms for making predictions about the future based on past experiences. The emphasis in COLT is on rigorous mathematical analysis. As a field with roots in theoretical computer science, COLT is largely concerned with computational and data efficiency. Much of the work in COLT can be traced to seminal work by Valiant. The goal of the COLT Bibliography (currently maintained by Thomas Zeugmann) is to offer a reasonably complete database of publications in computational learning theory since 1993. For more information, visit http://www.i.kyushu-u.ac.jp/~thomas/COLTBIB/coltbib.jhtml
Adam Smith (1723-1790) was a Scottish political economist and philosopher whose most famous work (The Wealth of Nations, 1776) laid the foundations for laissez-faire (free-market) economic theory. In this work he coined the term "invisible hand" for a situation in which economic traders, pursuing only their own self interest, nevertheless manage to self-organize in ways of benefit to society as a whole. Robin Chew (Lucid Interactive) has developed a Web site devoted to the legacy of Adam Smith. Among other things, the site provides e-book access to several of Adam Smith's works in their entirety (e.g., The Theory of Moral Sentiment and The Wealth of Nations). For more information, visit http://www2.lucidcafe.com/lucidcafe/library/96jun/smith.html
From an announcement by Nicholas Economides (Director, NET Institute): "I am writing to announce the creation of NET Institute, the Networks, Electronic Commerce and Telecommunications Institute. The NET Institute is a non-profit institution devoted to research on network industries, electronic commerce, telecommunications, the Internet, "virtual networks" comprised of computers that share the same technical standard or operating system, and on network issues in general. The NET Institute will function as a world-wide focal point for research and open exchange and dissemin tion of ideas in these areas. The NET Institute will competitively fund cutting edge research projects in these areas, and it will organize conferences and seminars on these issues." For more information, visit http://www.NETinst.org