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. 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 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 publisher: "Game theory, the formalized study of strategy, began in the 1940s by asking how emotionless geniuses should play games, but ignored until recently how average people with emotions and limited foresight actually play games. This book marks the first substantial and authoritative effort to close this gap. Colin Camerer, one of the field's leading figures, uses psychological principles and hundreds of experiments to develop mathematical theories of reciprocity, limited strategizing, and learning, which help predict what real people and companies do in strategic situations. Unifying a wealth of information from ongoing studies in strategic behavior, he takes the experimental science of behavioral economics a major step forward. He does so in lucid, friendly prose."
Colin F. Camerer is Rea A. and Lela G. Axline Professor of Business Economics at the California Institute of Technology.
From the publisher: "In (this book), Clark argues that what makes humans so different from other species is our capacity to fully incorporate tools and supporting cultural practices into our existence. Technology as simple as writing on a sketchpad, as familiar as Google or a cellular phone, and as potentially revolutionary as mind-extending neural implants -- all exploit our brains' astonishingly plastic nature. Our minds are primed to seek out and incorporate non-biological resources, so that we actually think and feel through our best technologies. Drawing on his expertise in cognitive science, Clark demonstrates that our sense of self and of physical presence can be expanded to a remarkable extent... the line between the user and her tools grows thinner day by day."
An interview with Andy Clark conducted by Natasha Mitchell (Radio National, Australia), which focuses on the issues raised in Natural Born Cyborgs, can be accessed at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/science/mind/s850880.htm
Andy Clark is Director of the Cognitive Science Program and Professor of Philosophy at Indiana University.
From Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.): Drawing on decades of research in the `sciences of human nature,' (Pinker) attacks the notion that an infant's mind is a blank slate, arguing instead that human beings have an inherited universal structure shaped by the demands made upon the species for survival, albeit with plenty of room for cultural and individual variation. For those who have been following the sciences in question including cognitive science, neuroscience, behavioral genetics and evolutionary psychology much of the evidence will be familiar, yet Pinker's clear and witty presentation, complete with comic strips and allusions to writers from Woody Allen to Emily Dickinson, keeps the material fresh. What might amaze is the persistent, often vitriolic resistance to these findings Pinker presents and systematically takes apart, decrying the hold of the `blank slate' and other orthodoxies on intellectual life."
Steven Pinker is the Peter de Florez Professor of Psychology, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, MIT, Cambridge, MA.
From the publisher: "Brian Skyrms' study of ideas of cooperation and collective action explores the implications of a prototypical story found in Rousseau's A Discourse on Inequality. It is therein that Rousseau contrasts the pay-off of hunting hare (where the risk of non-cooperation is small and the rewared equally small) against the pay-off of hunting the stag (where maximum cooperation is required but the reward is much greater). Thus, rational agents are pulled in one direction by considerations of risk and in another by considerations of mutual benefit. Written with Skyrms' characteristic clarity and verve, (this book) will be eagerly sought by readers who enjoyed his earlier work Evolution of the Social Contract."
Brian Skyrms is Distinguished Professor of Logic, Philosophy of Science, and Economics, and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in History and Philosophy of Science, at the University of California, Irvine.
From the publisher: "From the wild swings of the stock market to the online auctions of eBay to the unexpected twists of the world's post-Communist economies, markets have suddenly become quite visible. It is now questioned what makes these institutions work, how important they are and how we can improve them. This text takes the reader on a tour of a world we once took for granted, offering examples ranging from a camel trading fair in India to the 20 million dollar per day Aalsmeer flower market in the Netherlands to the global trade in AIDS drugs. Eschewing ideology, this text aims to show that markets are neither magical nor immoral. Rather, they are powerful if imperfect tools, the best we've found for improving our living standards."
John McMillan is Professor of International Management and Economics at Stanford University Graduate School of Business.
From a review by Duncan Foley (New School University): "(This book) is an astonishing performance of synthetic scholarship. Mirowski traces the present-day predicaments of economic theory to its intellectual reformulation and institutional restructuring by military funding and in the crucibles of World War II and the cold war. His demonstration that the mathematical economics of the postwar era is a complex response to the challenges of `cyborg science,' the attempt to unify the study of human beings and intelligent machines through John von Neumann's general theory of automata, is bound to be controversial. His critics, however, will have to contend with a breathtakingly wide range of published and unpublished evidence in fields ranging from psychology to operations research he presents. This noir history of economic thought will change its readers' understanding of twentieth-century economics profoundly."
Philip Mirowski is Carl Koch Professor of Economics and the History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Notre Dame, Indiana.
From the publisher: "Economics can be pretty boring. Drier than Death Valley, the discipline is obsessed with mathematics and compounds this by arrogantly assuming its techniques can be brought to bear on the other social sciences. It wasn't going to be long, therefore, before students started complaining. The vast majority have voted with their feet and signed up for business and management degrees, but in the past two years there has grown an important new movement that has decided to tackle those who think they run economics head-on. This is the Post-autistic Economics Network. The PAE Network started in France and spread first to Cambridge and then other parts of the world. The name derives from the fact that mainstream economics has been accused of institutional autism -- that is, qualitative impairment of social interaction, failure to develop peer relationships and lack of emotional and social reciprocity. In short, economics has lost touch with reality and has become way too abstract. This book charts the impact the PAE Network has had and constitutes a manifesto for a different kind of economics. It features key contributions from major voices in heterodox economics." For more information about the PAE Network, visit http://www.paecon.net/
Edward Fullbrook is with the School of Economics, University of the West of England, Bristol, UK.
This volume contains a selection of papers contributed to the second AESCS workshop together with invited papers by Robert Axtell, Shu-Heng Chen, and Takao Terano. These papers focus on the importance of cumulative progress in agent-based simulation in the social sciences through discussions of common tasks, standard computational models, replication and validation issues, and evaluation and verification criteria for the results.
Takao Terano is a Professor at the Graduate School of Systems Management, University of Tsukuba, Tokyo. Hiroshi Deguchi and Keiki Takadama are Professor and Lecturer, respectively, in the Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Tokyo Institute of Technology, Yokohama, Japan.
From the publisher: "By developing the genuine idea of Brownian agents, the author combines concepts from informatics, such as multiagent systems, with approaches of statistical many-particle physics. This way, an efficient method for computer simulations of complex systems is developed which is also accessible to analytical investigations and quantitative predictions. The book demonstrates that Brownian agent models can be successfully applied in many different contexts, ranging from physicochemical pattern formation, to active motion and swarming in biological systems, to self-assembling of networks, evolutionary optimization, urban growth, economic agglomeration and even social systems."
Frank Schweitzer is with the Institute for Physics, Humboldt University Berlin.
From the publisher: "The term `artificial life' describes research into synthetic systems that possess some of the essential properties of life. This interdisciplinary field includes biologists, computer scientists, physicists, chemists, geneticists, and others. Artificial life may be viewed as an attempt to understand high-level behavior from low-level rules -- for example, how the simple interactions between ants and their environment lead to complex trail-following behavior. An understanding of such relationships in particular systems can suggest novel solutions to complex real-world problems such as disease prevention, stock-market prediction, and data mining on the Internet."
Russell Standish is Adjunct Associate Professor in the School of Mathematics at the University of New South Wales. Mark A. Bedau is Professor of Philosophy and Humanities at Reed College. Hussein A. Abbass is Senior Lecturer at the Australian Defence Force Academy.
From the publisher: "In (this book), one of the leading scientists involved in the study of complexity...takes us on a sweeping tour of the universe, a tour with 28 stops, each one highlighting a particularly important moment of emergence. For instance, Morowitz illuminates the emergence of the stars, the birth of the elements and of the periodic table, and the appearance of solar systems and planets. We look at the emergence of living cells, animals, vertebrates, reptiles, and mammals, leading to the great apes and the appearance of humanity. He also examines tool making, the evolution of language, the invention of agriculture and technology, and the birth of cities. And as he offers these insights into the evolutionary unfolding of our universe, our solar system, and life itself, Morowitz also seeks out the nature of God in the emergent universe, the God posited by Spinoza, Bruno, and Einstein, a God Morowitz argues we can know through a study of the laws of nature."
Dr. Harold Morowitz is affiliated with the Krasnow Institute of Advanced Study, George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia, and is a past Editor-in-Chief of Complexity.
From the publisher: "This exciting, timely book combines cutting-edge findings in neuroscience with examples from history and recent headlines to offer new insights into who we are. Introducing the new science of cultural biology, born of advances in brain imaging, computer modeling, and genetics, Drs. Quartz and Sejnowski demystify the dynamic engagement between brain and world that makes us something far beyond the sum of our parts. The authors show how our humanity unfolds in precise stages as brain and world engage on increasingly complex levels. Their discussion embraces shaping forces as ancient as climate change over millennia and events as recent as the terrorism and heroism of September 11 and offers intriguing answers to some of our most enduring questions, including why we live together, love, kill -- and sometimes lay down our lives for others."
Steven R. Quartz is Director of the Social Cognitive Neuroscience Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology, and Terrence J. Sejnowski is Director of the Computational Neurobiology Laboratory at the Salk Institute.
From the publisher: "Written by one of the pre-eminent researchers in the field, this book provides a comprehensive exposition of modern analysis of causation. It shows how causality has grown from a nebulous concept into a mathematical theory with significant applications in the fields of statistics, artificial intelligence, philosophy, cognitive science, and the health and social sciences. Pearl presents a unified account of the probabilistic, manipulative, counterfactual and structural approaches to causation, and devises simple mathematical tools for analyzing the relationships between causal connections, statistical associations, actions, and observations."
Professor Judea Pearl is with the Cognitive Systems Laboratory, Computer Science Department, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA.
From a review by Colleen Cuddy for the Library Journal (copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.): "(Buchanan) delivers a good introduction to theoretical physics and the `small worlds' theory of networks. He sees biology, computer science, physics, and sociology as intimately connected. Buchanan illustrates social and physical networks with examples ranging from the infamous `six degrees of separation' theories, to the spread of the AIDS virus, to the mapping of the nervous system of the nematode worm. Are the similarities among these networks merely a coincidence or the result of some underlying physics? Only further research will tell, but in the meantime this book is a good primer to basic network concepts and contains references to key journal articles and studies for further reading."
Mark Buchanan holds a Ph.D. in physics and has been an editor at Nature and the New Scientist.
From the publisher: "This revolutionary volume allows mathematicians and geographers to view graph theory in a new and vibrant way. Theories and definitions are accompanied by complementary chapters that explain the mathematics behind the examples and provide quick reference options. Using brilliant four-color graphics, this comprehensive treatment in e-book format allows for uncommon flexibility and ease of use. The electronic format takes full advantage of online tools such as animation and JavaTM; applets to allow readers to follow processes as they happen, while hyperlinks allow readers to move easily through the text for quick reference to theorems or definitions."
Sandra L. Arlinghaus is with the University of Michigan, William C. Arlinghaus is with Lawrence Technological University, and Frank Harary is with New Mexico State University.
From the publisher: "In (this book), the CEO of one of today's hottest wireless businesses explores the latest thinking and trends in the exciting world of digital wireless communication and boldly predicts the future of this hot new field. He acquaints readers with the amazing technologies involved and the no less amazing profit opportunities opening up around them. Drawing upon his unique access to top management at Nokia, Ericsson, Motorola, Verizon, IBM, Cisco, Psion, Microsoft, and other key players, he profiles those who are vying to be among the first to cash in on the wireless revolution while holding their own against brilliant upstarts, government regulation, and the threat of extinction by competitors who appear from virtually nowhere, at any moment."
Alex Lightman is a Distinguished Research Fellow of Laguna Research Partners and co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charmed Technology, Inc. William Rojas is a Senior Contributing Analyst for Pyramid Research, specializing in the Japanese market as well as emerging broadband fixed and wireless technologies.
Issue No. 2 of Volume 6 of the refereed electronic Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS), edited by Nigel Gilbert (University of Surrey), was published in March 2003. This issue features a special article section on role-playing games, models, and negotiation processes, a forum section that includes a report on the Multi-Agent Based Simulation (MABS) 2002 Workshop in Bologna, Italy, and reviews of three new books focusing on networks (by Duncan Watts, Albert-Lazlo Barabasi, and Mark Buchanan).
Issue No. 3 of Volume 6 of JASSS was published in June 2003. This issue includes four peer-reviewed articles on topics ranging from hunter-gatherer societies to financial markets, a forum discussion section, and a review of a book on SIMUL8. It also features a special section on "Role-Playing Games, Models and Negotiation Processes" (edited by Olivier Barreteau).
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. The new issue can be accessed through the JASSS home page at http://jasss.soc.surrey.ac.uk/JASSS.html
From the publisher (Springer-Verlag): "Computational Management Science is an international journal focusing on all computational aspects of management science. As such, its aim is to provide a publishing outlet for novel research results, and occasional surveys, in computational methods, models and empirical analysis for decision making in economics, finance, management, and related aspects of engineering. These include theoretical and empirical analysis of computational models; computational statistics; analysis and applications of constrained optimization algorithms including combinatorial optimization; stochastic models and solution algorithms; dynamic models, such as dynamic programming and decision trees; new search tools and algorithms for global optimization, modelling, learning and forecasting such as neural networks and genetic algorithms; models and tools of knowledge acquisition, such as data mining and data warehousing. The emphasis on computational paradigms is an intended feature of CMS, distinguishing it from more classical operations research journals."
From the publisher (Kluwer Academic Publishers): "The Journal of Bioeconomics, to be published in association with the International Society for Bioeconomics, will encourage alternative approaches and creative dialogues between biologists and economists, and facilitate the transfer of concepts and tools in both directions. Within economics, the journal welcomes different paradigms and schools of thought, including game theory, evolutionary economics, institutional economics, law-and-economics, public choice theory, behavioral and ecological economics, feminist economics, theories of entrepreneurship, etc. Within biology, the journal welcomes contributions from evolutionary biology, systematic biology, behavioral ecology, ethology, paleobiology, paleontology, sociobiology, etc. ... The (journal) will be published on a quarterly schedule. All papers will be reviewed through the standard, anonymous referee procedure, and all accepted manuscripts will be subject to the review of the editors and international advisory editorial board."
From the publisher (Elsevier): "Economics and Human Biology is devoted to the exploration of the effect of socio-economic processes on human beings as biological organisms. Research covered in this (triennial) interdisciplinary journal is not bound by temporal or geographic limitations. Contributions in auxology, anthropometry, biocultural anthropology, demography, development economics, economic history, epidemiology, health economics, human biology, human nutrition, health sciences, medicine, physical anthropology, publish health and sociology are welcomed."
From the publisher (Network Economics Consulting Group): "The Review of Economic Networks seeks to help policy makers, academics, and practitioners keep informed of new research and policy debate in network economics and related subjects. By providing reviews and surveys of topical issues relevant to network industries, and encouraging the dissemination of insightful critiques, it is hoped readers will be able to quickly gain a deeper understanding of the issues reviewed and that this will improve the quality of decision making by private and public organizations, and debate among researchers. Papers that provide insights into policy debates are particularly welcome. ... The journal will be available in full text at the website address www.rnejournal.com and by subscription. Starting in 2003, the journal will be published quarterly in March, June, September, and December."
Evolution: International Journal of Organic Evolution is published bimonthly by Allen Press and is the official journal of the Society for the Study of Evolution, founded in March 1946. The journal seeks to publish significant new results of empirical or theoretical investigations concerning facts, processes, mechanics, or concepts of evolutionary phenomena and events.
The journal of Spatial Cognition and Computation (SCC) is a multidisciplinary journal published by Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc. SCC is based on the assumption that the critical issues pertaining to spatial cognition and computation lie at the intersection of a number of disciplines, in particular, cognitive psychology, computer science, geography, neuropsychology and artificial intelligence.
Paraphrased announcement from the Editor-in-Chief (Jacek B. Krawczyk, Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand): ITEM (Information Technology for Economics and Management, ISSN 1643-8949) is an interdisciplinary outlet in electronic form for peer refereed reporting on the theory and implementation of optimal or satisfactory solutions effectuated through IT. Particularly solicited are papers that document methodologies empowered by IT to solve important economic and managerial problems. For more on the journal's aims, scope and topics, visit http://www2.vuw.ac.nz/staff/jacek_krawczyk/ITEM/FrontPage.html
William F. Harms (Centre for Applied Ethics, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada) has developed simulation software for several of the dynamic games described in Brian Skyrms' book titled Evolution of the Social Contract (Cambridge University Press, 1996). These games include: divide the cake; the ultimatum game; correlated equilibria games; and signalling games. For more information, visit http://www.ethics.ubc.ca/~eame/eameweb/Skyrms/skintro.htm
Political Sim was created to make the power of voting rules easy to understand through visual displays. Political Sim lets players experiment with forty-one flavors of democratic voting, from Australia to Zuidland. Political Sim can be downloaded in self-extracting compressed files for use with Windows Excel or Macintosh Excel. For more information, visit http://accuratedemocracy.com/s_sim_ad.htm
From the developer (Jan Burse, Zurich): "The goal of quicksilver is to provide a simple environment that allows the quick development and testing of agent models. The idea is that quicksilver cooperates with the Java environment in that it delegates the development of agent types and viewers to Java. Quicksilver itself then provides the editing of a so called model tree, which contains instances of the agent types. The model tree can be navigated and stepped. In both cases the viewers come into play." For more information, visit http://quicksilver.tigris.org
From the development team: "Madkit is a Java programming environment dedicated to the creation of multi-agent systems. It is oriented towards communication between distributed systems. It is built upon an organizational model based on Agents, Groups, and Roles: an organization is viewed as a framework for activity and interaction through the definition of groups, roles, and their relationships. But, by avoiding an agent-oriented viewpoint, an organization is regarded as a structural relationship between a collection of agents. Thus, an organization can be described solely on the basis of its structure, i.e., by the way groups and roles are arranged to form a whole, without being concerned with the way agents actually behave, and multi-agent systems will be analyzed from the `outside,' as a set of interaction modes. The specific architecture of agents is purposely not addressed. Madkit provides general agent facilities (lifecycle management, message passing, distribution,...), and allows high heterogeneity in agent architectures and communication languages, and various customizations." For more information, visit http://www.madkit.org
From the developer (Joerg Richard Weimar, Institute of Scientific Computing, Technical University Braunschweig): "The program system JCASim is a general-purpose system for simulating cellular automata in Java. It includes a stand-alone application and an applet for web presentations. The cellular automata can be specifed in Java, in CDL, or using an interactive dialogue. The system supports many different lattice geometries (1-D, 2-D square, hexagonal, triangular, e3-D), neighborhoods, boundary conditions, and can display cells using colors, text, or icons." For more information, visit http://www.sc.cs.tu-bs.de/%7Eweimar/jcasim/
From the development team (Monash University, Australia, and Maersk Institute, University of Southern Denmark): "The BlueJ environment was developed as part of a university research project about teaching object-orientation to beginners. ... The aim of BlueJ is to provide an easy-to-use teaching environment for the Java language that facilitates the teaching of Java to first year students. Special emphasis has been placed on visualization and interaction techniques to create a highly interactive environment that encourages experimentation and exploration." For more information, visit http://www.bluej.org/what/what.html
From the ACR-R Research Group (Department of Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University): "ACT-R is a cognitive architecture: a theory about how human cognition works. On the exterior, ACT-R looks like a programming language; however, its constructs reflect assumptions about human cognition. These assumptions are based on numerous facts derived from psychology experiments. Like a programming language, ACT-R is a framework: for different tasks (e.g., Tower of Hanoi, memory for text or for list of words, communication, aircraft controlling), researchers create models (aka programs) that are written in ACT-R and that, beside incorporating the ACT-R's view of cognition, add their own assumptions about the particular task. These assumptions can be tested by comparing the results of the model with the results of people doing the same tasks. ... One important feature of ACR-R that distinguishes it from other theories in the field is that it allows researchers to collect quantitative measures that can be directly compared with the quantitative measures obtained from human participants." For more information, visit http://act-r.psy.cmu.edu/about/
From the development team: "Joone is a neural net framework written in Java. It's composed by a core engine, a GUI editor and a distributed training environment. Can be extended writing new modules to implement new algorithms or new architectures starting from base components." For more information, visit http://sourceforge.net/projects/joone/
The Linux Documentation Project is maintained by a team of developers and volunteers in a variety of languages. The extensive resources provided at this site include: news items; specific-subject help; book pointers; answers to frequently asked questions; help on individual commands; and online magazine links. For more information, visit http://en.tldp.org/
Nicholas Gessler (Department of Anthropology, UCLA, Los Angeles) maintains an interesting unusual website titled "Artificial Culture: Experiments in Synthetic Anthropology." Resources provided at this student-oriented site include course syllabi, conference information, numerous illustrative executable simulations in C++ (with links, explanations, source code, and zipped Borland project files), and tutorial materials covering simulation basics. For more information, visit http://www.bol.ucla.edu/~gessler/
Dawn Parker (Department of Geology, George Mason University) maintains a resource website for researchers interested in multi-agent systems models of land-use and cover-change (MAS/LUCC). Visitors to this MAS/LUCC Resource Page will find links to literature, conferences and workshops, descriptions of ongoing research projects, and software tools. The site can be accessed at http://www.csiss.org/resources/maslucc/
Craig Reynolds (Sony, Research and Development Group) maintains a web site titled Boids featuring his simulations of flocking creatures. His basic flocking model consists of three simple steering behaviors possessed by each individual boid that govern how each boid maneuvers itself based on the positions and velocities of its nearby flockmates. As illustrated by the Java applets at this site, the model results in amazingly life-like collective flocking dynamics. Also available at this site is a link to work by Reynolds on an interactive system permitting user interaction with large groups of autonomous characters. The characters respond in real time to the user's interaction as well as to each other and their environment. For more information, visit http://www.red3d.com/cwr/boids
Alan Hensel (North Carolina) maintains a site devoted to Conway's Game of Life. Resources available at this site include introductory materials, links to other sites, and a pop-up Java applet that displays "a collection of the greatest patterns ever created in Conway's Game of Life." For more information, visit http://hensel.lifepatterns.net/
Pablo Moscato (Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil) maintains a website titled Bibliography on Memetic Algorithms. He characterizes "memetic algorithms" (sometimes referred to as "hybrid genetic algorithms") as a population-based approach for heuristic search in optimization problems that combines local search heuristics with crossover operations. The 338 items currently in the bibliography can be searched by query using a number of different options. For access to the bibliography, visit http://liinwww.ira.uka.de/bibliography/Ai/memetic.html
A supernetwork is a network consisting of nodes,links, and flows that operates over and above one or more existing networks. The Isenberg School of Management (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), under the direction of Anna Nugurney, maintains an interdisciplinary center called the The Virtual Center for Supernetworks. The mission of the center is to foster the study and application of supernetworks and to serve as a resource to academia, industry, and government on transportation networks, logistical networks, telecommunications networks, and networks arising more generally in economic, environmental, financial and social settings. The home page of the center provides general information relating to supernetworks and describes various projects currently being supported by the center. For more information, visit http://supernet.som.umass.edu/