News Items
Agent-Based Computational Economics (ACE)
February 2004

Prepared by:
Leigh Tesfatsion
Department of Economics
Iowa State University
Ames, Iowa 50011-1070

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 modelled as evolving systems of autonomous interacting agents with learning capabilities. 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 with the following message in the email body:

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General Announcements

Book Announcements

  • Peter Hammerstein (ed.), Genetic and Cultural Evolution of Cooperation, The MIT Press, 450 pp., 2003, ISBN: 0-262-08326-4.

    From the publisher: "Current thinking in evolutionary biology holds that competition among individuals is the key to understanding natural selection. When competition exists, it is obvious that conflict arises; the emergence of cooperation, however, is less straightforward and calls for in-depth analysis. Much research is now focused on defining and expanding the evolutionary models of cooperation. Understanding the mechanisms of cooperation has relevance for fields other than biology. Anthropology, economics, mathematics, political science, primatology, and psychology are adopting the evolutionary approach and developing analogies based on it. Similarly, biologists use elements of economic game theory and analyze cooperation in `evolutionary games.' Despite this, exchanges between researchers in these disciplines have been limited. Seeking to fill this gap, the 90th Dahlem Workshop was convened. This book, which grew out of that meeting,... makes a significant contribution to a growing process of interdisciplinary cross-fertilization."

  • Colin Camerer, Behavioral Game Theory: Experiments in Strategic Interaction, Princeton University Press, 544 pp., April 2003, ISBN: 0-691-09039-4.

    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 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 Camerer if Rea A. and Lea G. Axline Professor of Business Economics at the California Institute of Technology.

  • Ken Kollman, John H. Miller, and Scott Page (eds.), Computational Models in Political Economy, The MIT Press, 320 pp., 2003, ISBN: 0-262-11275-2.

    From the publisher: "Researchers are increasingly turning to computational methods to study the dynamic properties of political and economic systems. Politicians, citizens, interest groups, and organizations interact in dynamic, complex environments, and the static models that are predominant in political economy are limited in capturing fundamental features of economic decision making in modern democracies. Computational models -- numerical approximations of equilibria and dynamics that cannot be solved analytically -- provide useful insight into the behavior of economic agents and the aggregate properties of political systems... This book offers some of the latest research on computational political economy. The focus is on theoretical models of traditional problems in the field."

    Ken Kollman is Associate Professor of Political Science, University of Michigan. John H. Miller is Professor of Economics and Decision Sciences, Carnegie Mellon University, and Research Professor, Santa Fe Institute. Scott Page is Associate Professor of Political Science and Associate Director, Center for the Study of Complex Systems, University of Michigan.

  • Robert Shiller, The New Financial Order: Risk in the 21st Century, Princeton University Press, 400 pp., April 2003, ISBN: 0-691-09172-2.

    From the publisher: "This compelling and important new book presents a fresh vision for hedging risk and securing our economic future. Shiller describes six fundamental ideas for using modern information technology and advanced financial theory to temper basic risks that have been ignored by risk management institutions -- risks to the value of our jobs and homes, to the vitality of our communities, and to the very stability of national economies. Informed by a comprehensive risk information database, this new financial order would include global markets for trading risks and exploiting myriad new financial opportunities, from inequality insurance to intergenerational social security."

    Robert Schiller is the Stanley B. Resor Professor of Economics at Yale University, New Haven, and the author of Irrational Exuberance, also from Princeton University Press.

  • Neil Fligstein, The Architecture of Markets: An Economic Sociology of Twenty-First Century Capitalist Societies, Princeton University Press, 274 pp., November 2002, ISBN: 0-691-10254-6

    From the publisher: "(This book) represents a major and timely step beyond recent, largely empirical studies that oppose the neoclassical model of perfect competition but provide sparse theory toward a coherent economic sociology. Fligstein offers this theory. With it he interprets not just globalization and the information economy, but developments more specific to American capitalism in the past two decades -- among them, the 1980s merger movement. He makes new inroads into the `theory of fields,' which links the formation of markets and firms to the problems of stability. His political-cultural approach explains why governments remain crucial to markets and why so many national variations of capitalism endure."

    Neil Fligstein is Professor of Sociology and Class of 1939 Chancellor's Professor at the University of California, Berkeley.

    Journal Announcements

    Software and Hardware Announcements

    • Per Bak's Sand Pile Model (Java)

      Jos Thijssen (Applied Physics, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands) maintains a site on Per Bak's sand pile model titled The Sand Pile Model and Self-Organized Criticality (html). Linked to this site is Thijssen's interactive sand pile demo: the sand pile is modeled as a regular array of columns consisting of cubic sand grains.

    • JASA: Java Auction Simulator API

      From the developer (Steve Phelps, Department of Computer Science, University of Liverpool, UK): "A new version (0.28) of JASA (Java Auction Simulator API) is now available at under an open-source license (GPL). JASA is a high performance auction simulator suitable for conducting experiments in agent-based computational economics. It implements various auction mechanisms, trading strategies and experiments described in the computational economics literature, and as the software matures we hope that it will become a repository for reference implementations of commonly used mechanisms, strategies and learning algorithms. In order for this project to succeed feedback, in the form of code fixes, code contributions and replication attempts, is vital and greatly welcomed."

    • ORA: Social Network Analysis Tool

      News item paraphrased from announcement by Ram Murali ( ORA is a social network analysis tool that enables the user to simultaneously reason about multiple networks connecting people, knowledge, resources, and tasks (or events). Both traditional and dynamic network measures are included. ORA can be used for risk assessment to locate individuals that are potential risks to the group or organization given one or more of the following types of relational or network information: social; knowledge; resource; and task/event. The GUI is used to set up organization(s) and perform two broad functions: run risk measures on the organization(s); and optimize the organizational structure. ORA is supported by CASOS, the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems at Carnegie Mellon University directed by Kathleen M. Carley. Version 1.2 of ORA is now available for download at the CASOS website:

    Research Groups and Sites

    • CASOS: Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems

      Paraphrased from the CASOS Website: CASOS (Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems) at Carnegie Mellon University brings together computer science, dynamic network analysis, and the empirical study of complex socio-technical systems. Computational and social network techniques are combined to develop a better understanding of the fundamental principles of organizing, coordinating, managing, and destabilizing systems of intelligent adaptive agents (human and artificial) engaged in real tasks at the team, organizational, or social level. CASOS is a university-wide center drawing on faculty, students, and programming staff in multiple departments at Carnegie Mellon. CASOS is directed by Professor Kathleen M. Carley. For more information about CASOS, visit

    • InSiSoc Group

      The aim of the InSiSoc Group (University of Valladolid, Spain) is to study and model the behaviour of complex social systems by means of the individuals' behaviour that grow the system. InSiSoc gathers experiences and contributions in multiagent systems, artificial intelligence, experimental economics and, widely speaking, the generative approach to complex social system modelling. The INSISOC Group is the team responsible for the organization of the Second European Social Simulation Conference Association. For more information about the InSiSoc Group, visit . For more information about the conference, visit

    Reminder: Items Requested for ACE News Notes and Complexity

      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, and/or the Complexity-at-Large section of the John Wiley journal Complexity, please email them to me (along with website information if available) at the following address:

    Copyright © 2003 Leigh Tesfatsion. All Rights Reserved.