Robert Axtell, Ph.D.Professor, George Mason University, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, Chair, Department of Computational Social Science

Title: Agentization of Conventional Social Science Models

Abstract: Mathematical models in the social sciences are often radically simplified in order to render them tractable analytically. I will describe a general process of recasting such models with software agents and then relaxing unrealistic mathematical specifications. This process yields models that may reproduce standard mathematical results either exactly or approximately, but may also demonstrate that the known analytical results are special cases of more general phenomena. Examples from economics will illustrate the range of possibilities, including agentization of the Walrasian-MacKenzie-Arrow-Debreu model of general market equilibrium, the Hotelling model of spatial competition, and Akerlof's well-known 'market for lemons'. Overall, agent computing reveals itself as a more supple and expressive methodology for modeling social phenomena.