My Agent-Based Model goes global

Another week gone sees the emergence of a pattern in my research: loads of great ideas, loads of terrible software design decisions, and loads of late nights trying to implement the former despite the latter.

This week’s Agent-Based fun has seen the model transplanted onto an image of the world (c/o Wikipedia Commons (where c/o here means ‘courtesy of’ instead of the more-often used ‘care of’. Wanna fight about it?)) which I doctored slightly to look like this:

World Map
A doctored version of Wikipedia’s plain world map

The world is then given some annual rainfall information, which decides how much wealth an agent accumulates from each piece of land they own (see previous blog posts: the rainfall/wealth function has an optimum, and too much or too little is bad).

Agents then grow, fight, earn wealth and develop “technology” as before, only this time the results look more hilarious because the world they’re playing their little game on looks a bit like our own beloved world. As you can see from the time-lapse image below, the world starts with many little tribes and eventually is dominated by three major powers: lime green (perhaps being Brazil) which rules all of the Americas, sky blue (perhaps the Democratic Republic of the Congo) reigning supreme in Africa and Eurasia, and pink (clearly China) which is hanging on bravely to south-east Asia and parts of the subcontinent. So, my model predicts Brazil, China and the Congo to be the next world world superpowers. A little calibration required? Well, perhaps…

Time-lapse imagery showing Brazil, China and the Democratic Republic of the Congo taking over the world

Author: Rob Levy

Economist at NEF. Former teaching Fellow in Economics at UCL and Bristol University. Recently submitted my PhD. We'll see what happens...

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