- Prepared by:
- Department of Economics
- Iowa State University
- Ames, Iowa 50011-1070
tesfatsi at iastate.edu
- ACE Website Home Page:
Appended below are news items that might be of interest to researchers
interested in agent-based computational economics (ACE), the computational
study of economies modeled as dynamic systems of interacting agents. Items
of more permanent interest will be incorporated at the ACE Website.
ACE news items are posted at the ACE Website in batched html-document form
about every three 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
with the following message in the email body:
with your actual email address in place of youremailaddress. For more
information, please visit the
ACE News List Site
- subscribe (unsubscribe) acenewslist youremailaddress
- Agent-Based Computational Workshop and Research Community
- A group of faculty and students from CUNY, Columbia, Rutgers, and
the New School have formed an agent-based computational workshop to be held
at the New School (CEPA, 5th Floor, 80 Fifth Avenue - corner of 14th and 5th,
3:00pm). Talks scheduled to date include: "Firm Structure, Search, and
Environmental Complexity (by J. Barr and N. Hanaki, 6/7); "The Nature of
Competition in a Speculative Futures Market" (by L. Ussher, 6/16); "An
Ecological Model of Chains" (by S. Page and T. Tassier, 7/7); and
"Segregation and Stratification" (by N. Hanaki and J. Ray, 7/28). The group
is seeking others in the New York area that might be interested in
participating in this workshop and interacting with this research community.
- For more information, and to join the mailing list for receiving
workshop announcements, contact Jason Barr
jmbarr AT andromeda.rutgers.edu).
- ACE Research Resource Sites
- Over the past year, numerous additional pointers (readings, software,
websites) have been added to the ACE research resource sites
See, in particle, the sites on
learning and the embodied mind,
design of auctions and other market forms,
restructured electricity markets,
technological change and growth,
evolution of economic networks.
- Dimitris Ballas, David Rossiter, Bethan Thomas, Graham Clarke, and Danny
Dorling, Geography Matters: Simulation the Local Impacts of National
Social Policies, The Joseph Rowntree Foundation, 140 pp., January 2005.
- From D. Ballas: "(This book) is a guide to the development of
microsimulation techniques in research. (It) builds on past work in the area
of microsimulation to present a new spatial simulation methodology. It
discusses the conceptual and practical issues of microsimulation,
highlighting the differences between static and dynamic microsimulation. The
authors outline how a geographical microsimulation model can be built and
explain the geographical simulation method clearly, keeping mathematical and
statistical jargon to a minimum. The book promotes greater convergence of
the methods used by economists, geographers and other social scientists
working in this field. It will appeal to all social scientists and
researchers interested in the geographical implications of social policies
and will be a useful introduction for undergraduate and postgraduate students
to simulation methods in the social sciences."
- For more information, visit
- Steven N. Durlauf and Lawrence E. Blume (eds.), The Economy as an
Evolving Complex System III, Santa Fe Institute Studies in the Sciences
of Complexity, 384 pp., Oxford University Press, June 2005 (to appear).
- This is the forthcoming third volume in the SFI series The Economy
as an Evolving Complex System. Previous volumes appeared in 1988 and in
- J. Doyne Farmer and John Geanakoplos (eds.), Beyond Equilibrium and
Efficiency, 352pp., Oxford University Press, 2005. ISBN: 0-195-15094-5
- From the publisher: "This book presents recent thought on market
efficiency, using a complex systems approach to move past equilibrium models
and quantify the actual efficiency of markets. The older view that markets
are perfectly efficient has come under attack from several different
directions, including studies of market anomalies, human psychology, bounded
rationality, agent-based modeling, and evolutionary game theory. This volume
brings together some of the best economists, physicists, and biologists
working on quantitative models of complex self-organized behavior relevant to
measuring market efficiency, to stimulate new approaches to understanding
- J. Doyne Farmer is McKinsey Professor at the Santa Fe Institute, and
John Geanakoplos is Professor of Economics at Yale University.
- Roberto Leombruni and Matteo Richiardi (eds.), Industry and Labor
Dynamics: The Agent-Based Computational Economics Approach, World
Scientific Publishing Co., 432pp., November 2004, ISBN: 9-812-56101-3.
- Abstract: This book is the published proceedings of the
WILD@ACE 2003 Workshop held in Torino, Italy, 3-4 October 2003. The acronym
"WILD@ACE" stands for "Workshop on Industrial and Labor Dynamics: The
Agent-Based Computational Economics Approach." The workshop focused on the
potential use of agent-based simulation for the investigation of labor
economics and industrial organization issues. The book includes a selection
of contributed papers on methodology, microsimulation of labor dynamics, firm
behavior, and industrial clusters and firm interaction. For more
- Bernhard Schölkopf and Alex Smola, Learning with Kernels: Support
Vector Machines, Regularization, Optimization, and Beyond, The MIT Press,
644 pp., December 2001. ISBN: 0-262-19457-9.
- From the publisher: "In the 1990s, a new type of learning algorithm
was developed, based on results from statistical learning theory: the Support
Vector Machine (SVM). This gave rise to a new class of theoretically elegant
learning machines that use a central concept of SVMs - kernels - for a number
of learning tasks. Kernel machines provide a modular framework that can be
adapted to different tasks and domains by the choice of the kernel function
and the base algorithm. They are replacing neural networks in a variety of
fields, including engineering, information retrieval, and bioinformatics.
(This book) provides an introduction to SVMs and related kernel methods.
Although the book begins with the basics, it also includes the latest
research. It provides all of the concepts necessary to enable a reader
equipped with some basic mathematical knowledge to enter the world of machine
learning using theoretically well-founded yet easy-to-use kernel algorithms
and to understand and apply the powerful algorithms that have been developed
over the last few years."
- The book is accompanied by a
Book Resource Site
that provides information, errata, presentation slides, and links to
approximately one third of the chapters for free downloading (including
Chapter 1: Tutorial Introduction).
- Bernhard Schölkopf is Director at the Max Planck Institute for
Biological Cybernetics in Tübingen, Germany, and Professor at the
Technical University in Berlin. Alexander J. Smola is Leader of the Machine
Learning Group, Research School for Information Sciences and Engineering, the
Australian National University.
- JASSS Volume 8(2)
- The second issue of Volume 8 of the Journal of Artificial
Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS) was published on March 31, 2005.
This issue includes two articles inspired by Niklas Luhmann, the German
sociologist. It also includes a rare demonstration of the use of qualitative
simulation to construct a model of group behaviour, and another in a series
of articles published in JASSS modeling gift-giving and reciprocity in simple
societies. Of particular interest to economists might be an article by Gary
Polhill and Luis Izquierdo titled "Lessons Learned from Converting the
(Santa Fe) Artificial Stock Market to Interval Arithmetic." In the Forum
section are articles on the practical experience of dealing with floating
point rounding errors and a comparison of several different Java development
kits for agent-based modeling. The book review section evaluates three texts
on multi-agent systems.
- JASSS is an electronic refereed journal devoted to the exploration and
understanding of social processes by means of computer simulation. It is
freely available, with no subscription, at the
- Special Issue on Social Science Computation
- The American Journal of Sociology (Volume 110, Number 4,
January 2005) is a special issue on social science computation guest-edited
by Nigel Gilbert and Andrew Abbott. Abstracts of the special issue
contributions can be viewed
- New Journal: Autonomous Adaptive Systems
- From the Editor-in-Chief, Giovanna Di Marzo Serugendo (University of
Geneva, Switzerland): "The ACM Transactions on Autonomous Adaptive Systems
(TAAS) is a venue for high quality research contributions addressing
foundational, engineering, and technological aspects of complex computing
systems exhibiting autonomous and adaptive behavior. TAAS encourages
contributions advancing the state of the art in the understanding,
development, and control of such systems. ... TAAS domains of interest
include: complexity and emergence in software systems; self-ware, autonomic
computing and communication; multi-agent systems; peer-to-peer systems;
biologically and socially inspired computing; swarm intelligence; pervasive
and mobile computing; and evolutionary computing. The general goal of the
journal is to address the wide range of research being undertaken by an
interdisciplinary computing community and to provide a common platform under
which this work can be published and disseminated."
- For more information, visit the
TAAS Journal Website.
Research Sites and Groups
- Floating Point Arithmetic and Agent-Based Models
- When doing arithmetic on a computer, the uncountably infinite set of
real numbers must somehow be squeezed into a discrete set of isolated numbers
represented in binary floating-point format. The resulting floating-point
errors can lead to some unpleasant surprises for the unwary. For example,
floating-point addition does not obey the associative law, e.g., (0.1 + 0.2)
+ 0.3 can fail to equal 0.1 + (0.2 + 0.3). Moreover, summing 0.05 twenty
times can yield a total that differs from 1. In both cases the problem can
be traced to the fact that simple-looking base-10 numbers such as 0.1 are not
exactly representable in binary floating-point format because they correspond
to infinitely repeating binary numbers.
- Researchers at the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute (MLURI) in
Aberdeen, Scotland, have been conducting a number of important and interesting
studies to investigate the effects of floating-point errors in agent-based
models implemented in FEARLUS. A summary of these efforts, with pointers to
related papers and demos, can be accessed
See, in particular, a January 2005 JASSS paper by three MLURI researchers,
Gary Polhill, Luis R. Izquierdo, and Nicholas M. Gotts, titled
"The Ghost in the Machine (and Other Effects of Floating Point
This paper investigates the effects of floating-point errors in a model of
land use change and in the Santa Fe Artificial Stock Market model.
- Based on their work to date, the MLURI researchers conclude that
floating-point errors are not likely to be of major importance if a model
does not perform many operations and if it does not contain branching
statements. However, on a personal note, I would like to warn about the
need to be careful also about imported utilities such as pseudo-random number
generators. In my ISU electricity research group we have just discovered
that a major java source file (EmpiricalWalker.java) in the well-known and
frequently imported cern.jet.random package is disastrously susceptible to
floating-point addition errors.
- ACE Power Market Project
(University of Karlsruhe), Mario Ragwitz (Fraunhofer Institute for Systems
and Innovation Research), and Wolf Fichtner (University of Karlsruhe) are
collaborating on the
Project researchers are developing an ACE framework to examine the effects of
a carbon dioxide emission allowance trading scheme on future power plant
structures, investment decisions, and greenhouse gas emissions in a
liberalized power market. A key motivation for this project is that an
emissions trading system with obligatory participation is currently being
launched in the European Union. Project publications are available for
downloading at the main project site.
- e-Social Science Project
- A group of researchers at the University of Manchester,
managed by Gillian Sinclair, is conducting research on e-Social
Science, the application of grid technologies to social science
research, including economics. They have funded several projects in
qualitative data and one of special interest to economists entitled
FINGRID. This group is also hosting the First International
Conference on e-Social Science at Manchester this summer. Details
about the e-Social Science project and conference can be found at
e-Social Science Website
- Group Experimentation Environment
- Robert Goldston, Allen Lee, and Andy Jones (Percepts and Concepts
Laboratory, Indiana University, Bloomington) are encouraging people to
participate in an ongoing on-line group experiment on resource foraging
accessible at the
Group Experimentation Environment (GEE) Project Site.
They describe the experiment as follows: "The experiment is rather
educational and engrossing. Your goal in a four-minute experiment is to pick
up as many resources as you can by moving your icon with the arrow keys. You
compete against other humans when they are available or Artificial
Intelligence Bots (programmed by Michael Roberts) when no other humans are
currently on-line. We have been beta-testing the environment locally at
Indiana University for awhile, and now feel ready to announce it to the
broader community, at least the broader ACADEMIC community at this point. If
you find any bugs or have suggestions for improvements, please email Andy
Jones or Allen Lee , and CC me
- Networks and Social Dynamics
Networks and Social Dynamics Research Group
at Cornell University studies the effects of network topology on the dynamics
of social interaction. Resources available at the research group site
(maintained by Damon Centola and Michael Macy) include information about
current research projects, curricula materials for a graduate seminar on
agent-based modeling, and information about an upcoming (October 2005)
workshop on "Games, Networks, and Cascades."
- Coalition Theory Network and Grand Coalition Site
Coalition Theory Network (CTN)
is an association of high-level scientific institutions whose aim is the
advancement and diffusion of research in the area of coalition formation.
The CTN, founded in 1995, sponsors annual meetings and summer school
activities. The CTN is now sharing its resources with the
Grand Coalition Site
founded by Rod Garratt (UC Santa Barbara, California) and Guillaume
Haeringer (Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona) in January 2001. The Grand
Coalition Site provides information and resources about research in
cooperative and noncooperative game theory, with an emphasis on coalition
General Software and Hardware Announcements
- Dynamical Analysis of Nonlinear Systems
- Marji Lines and Alfredo Medio (University of Udine, Italy) have made
available an integrated, user-friendly, open-source software program
developed specifically for the dynamical analysis of nonlinear models on
Windows and Linux platforms. The available algorithms include: numerical
simulations of single and multiple trajectories, with options for
automatically varying initial values or parameter values; bifurcation
diagrams for the study of limit sets over a single parameter or in a
two-dimensional parameter space; calculation of the Lyapunov exponents over
time either for a single parameter or in a two-dimensional parameter space;
basins of attraction; stable and unstable manifolds; and absorbing basins.
- For source code, instructions, and exercises (including macro exercises
written to accompany Romer's Advanced Macroeconomics), visit
- LEDA: Graph and Network Problems
(distributed by Algorithmic Solutions Software GmbH, Saarbruecken, Germany)
is a C++ class library for efficient data types and algorithms. LEDA
provides algorithmic in-depth knowledge for graph and network problems,
geometric computations, combinatorial optimization, and other applications.
LEDA is implemented following the object-oriented approach. It is available
in four different packages: basic, graph, geometry, and GUI. In addition, it
is available for many different operating systems and compilers.
- Breve: 3-D Simulation Environment
is a free software package that provides a 3-D environment for the simulation
of decentralized systems and artificial life. Users define the behaviors of
agents in a 3-D world and observe how they interact. Breve includes physical
simulation and collision detection for the simulation of realistic creatures,
and an OpenGL display engine so that users can visualize their simulated
worlds. It is available for Mac OS X, Linux, and Windows platforms.
Course and Program Announcements
Complex Systems (Northwestern U, Evanston, IL)
Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)
offers 1-3 year post-doc fellowship opportunities to young researchers who
have interest in the study of complex systems and in interdisciplinary
collaborations. Applicants must be self-motivated and goal-oriented
individuals who have recently obtained their Ph.D. and who possess
outstanding potential. Applicants must be able to successfully communicate
ideas to diverse audiences, build on existing strengths, bridge different
fields, and be motivated to work with NICO faculty on interdisciplinary
complex systems projects.
Computable and Experimental Economics (U of Trento, Italy):
Computable and Experimental Economics Laboratory (CEEL)
(Department of Economics, University of Trento, Italy) offers intensive
summer courses on selected topics related to computational economics. Past
years' topics have included: computable economics; experimental economics;
adaptive economic processes; behavioral economics; institutional economics;
and evolutionary economic dynamics. The course is targeted at Ph.D. students
and postdocs. Participation at the summer school is free of charge for
accepted applicants. The deadline for receipt of applications is typically
early in March.
Computational Political Economy (Burns and Geel, U of Cape
- Justine Burns and Katherine Geel (Economics, University of Cape Town,
South Africa) have developed a course titled
Computational Political Economy.
The focus of the course is on the social and political foundations
of economics. The basic premise of the course is that economists
need to adopt a more inclusive view of social norms, institutions,
and the state in understanding the role and functioning of markets.
The aim of the course is to introduce students to recent advances in
the fields of behavioral and institutional economics. In particular,
students are introduced to agent-based modeling as a useful tool for
the simulation of a society under different institutional
arrangements. Many of the course materials (lecture notes, readings, lab
session materials) are made accessible on-line.
Institute of Computational Economics (U of Chicago/Argonne):
- The Economic Research Center at the University of Chicago in
conjunction with the Argonne National Laboratory (Argonne, Illinois) have
Institute on Computational Economics (ICE).
The primary function of the ICE is to train young scholars (advanced graduate
students and junior faculty) in state-of-the-art numerical methods and
computer technology, and their application to economic modeling and analysis.
The following topics will be stressed: Numerical optimization; Dynamic
programming; Solution methods for dynamic economic models; and Statistical
computing. The ICE will host a summer program of activities for young
scholars that includes tutorials, seminars, and workshops featuring recent
advances in quantitative economic policy research. Application information
can be obtained at the ICE website.
Marketing: Contemporary Research Methods (Wilkinson, U of New
South Wales, Australia):
- Ian Wilkinson (Marketing, USNW, Australia) has developed a course
Contemporary Research Methods in Marketing.
The aim of the course is to increase students' knowledge, skills, and
insights in scientific research methods in marketing, with an emphasis on
qualitative/interpretive methodologies, sequence methods, social network
analysis, and complexity.
Political Science and Agent-Based Modeling (Lustick,
U of Pennsylvania):
- Ian Lustick (Political Science, University of Pennsylvania) has
prepared a course (Political Science 498) titled
Politics, Agent-Based Modeling, and Computer Simulations.
The basic objective of the course is to explore how recent developments in
evolutionary theory, and in studies of complexity and complex adaptive
systems, provide a basis for important critiques of standard approaches in
political science. Students are taught how to use PS-1, an agent-based
computer simulation platform, to develop their own models, conduct
experiments, test hypotheses, or produce existence proofs in relation to
popular theoretical positions in contemporary political science. No previous
knowledge of computer programming is required.
Miscellaneous News Items
Reminder: Items Requested for ACE News Notes
- Just a reminder that if you have any information about ACE-related books,
journals, teaching materials, software, websites, or miscellaneous news items
that you would like to have considered for inclusion in the ACE news notes,
please email them to me (along with website information if available) at the
tesfatsi at iastate.edu
Copyright © 2005 Leigh Tesfatsion.
All Rights Reserved.