Agent-based modelling of socio-ecological systems

Models, projects and ontologies

Nicholas M. Gotts*, George A.K. van Voorn, J.G. Polhill, Eline de Jong, Bruce Edmonds, Gert Jan Hofstede, Ruth Meyer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Socio-Ecological Systems (SESs) are the systems in which our everyday lives are embedded, so understanding them is important. The complex properties of such systems make modelling an indispensable tool for their description and analysis. Human actors play a pivotal role in SESs, but their interactions with each other and their environment are often underrepresented in SES modelling. We argue that more attention should be given to social aspects in models of SESs, but this entails additional kinds of complexity. Modelling choices need to be as transparent as possible, and to be based on analysis of the purposes and limitations of modelling. We recommend thinking in terms of modelling projects rather than single models. Such a project may involve multiple models adopting different modelling methods. We argue that agent-based models (ABMs) are an essential tool in an SES modelling project, but their expressivity, which is their major advantage, also produces problems with model transparency and validation. We propose the use of formal ontologies to make the structure and meaning of models as explicit as possible, facilitating model design, implementation, assessment, comparison and extension.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages15
JournalEcological Complexity
Volume40
Issue numberB
Early online date1 Sep 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019

Fingerprint

modeling
project
transparency
analysis

Keywords

  • Agent-based model
  • Complexity
  • Ontology
  • Socio-ecological system

Cite this

Gotts, Nicholas M. ; van Voorn, George A.K. ; Polhill, J.G. ; de Jong, Eline ; Edmonds, Bruce ; Hofstede, Gert Jan ; Meyer, Ruth. / Agent-based modelling of socio-ecological systems : Models, projects and ontologies. In: Ecological Complexity. 2019 ; Vol. 40, No. B.
@article{11ef4c59a96c4be7b2aff8466242a66c,
title = "Agent-based modelling of socio-ecological systems: Models, projects and ontologies",
abstract = "Socio-Ecological Systems (SESs) are the systems in which our everyday lives are embedded, so understanding them is important. The complex properties of such systems make modelling an indispensable tool for their description and analysis. Human actors play a pivotal role in SESs, but their interactions with each other and their environment are often underrepresented in SES modelling. We argue that more attention should be given to social aspects in models of SESs, but this entails additional kinds of complexity. Modelling choices need to be as transparent as possible, and to be based on analysis of the purposes and limitations of modelling. We recommend thinking in terms of modelling projects rather than single models. Such a project may involve multiple models adopting different modelling methods. We argue that agent-based models (ABMs) are an essential tool in an SES modelling project, but their expressivity, which is their major advantage, also produces problems with model transparency and validation. We propose the use of formal ontologies to make the structure and meaning of models as explicit as possible, facilitating model design, implementation, assessment, comparison and extension.",
keywords = "Agent-based model, Complexity, Ontology, Socio-ecological system",
author = "Gotts, {Nicholas M.} and {van Voorn}, {George A.K.} and J.G. Polhill and {de Jong}, Eline and Bruce Edmonds and Hofstede, {Gert Jan} and Ruth Meyer",
year = "2019",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1016/j.ecocom.2018.07.007",
language = "English",
volume = "40",
journal = "Ecological Complexity",
issn = "1476-945X",
publisher = "Elsevier",
number = "B",

}

Agent-based modelling of socio-ecological systems : Models, projects and ontologies. / Gotts, Nicholas M.; van Voorn, George A.K.; Polhill, J.G.; de Jong, Eline ; Edmonds, Bruce; Hofstede, Gert Jan; Meyer, Ruth.

In: Ecological Complexity, Vol. 40, No. B, 12.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

TY - JOUR

T1 - Agent-based modelling of socio-ecological systems

T2 - Models, projects and ontologies

AU - Gotts, Nicholas M.

AU - van Voorn, George A.K.

AU - Polhill, J.G.

AU - de Jong, Eline

AU - Edmonds, Bruce

AU - Hofstede, Gert Jan

AU - Meyer, Ruth

PY - 2019/12

Y1 - 2019/12

N2 - Socio-Ecological Systems (SESs) are the systems in which our everyday lives are embedded, so understanding them is important. The complex properties of such systems make modelling an indispensable tool for their description and analysis. Human actors play a pivotal role in SESs, but their interactions with each other and their environment are often underrepresented in SES modelling. We argue that more attention should be given to social aspects in models of SESs, but this entails additional kinds of complexity. Modelling choices need to be as transparent as possible, and to be based on analysis of the purposes and limitations of modelling. We recommend thinking in terms of modelling projects rather than single models. Such a project may involve multiple models adopting different modelling methods. We argue that agent-based models (ABMs) are an essential tool in an SES modelling project, but their expressivity, which is their major advantage, also produces problems with model transparency and validation. We propose the use of formal ontologies to make the structure and meaning of models as explicit as possible, facilitating model design, implementation, assessment, comparison and extension.

AB - Socio-Ecological Systems (SESs) are the systems in which our everyday lives are embedded, so understanding them is important. The complex properties of such systems make modelling an indispensable tool for their description and analysis. Human actors play a pivotal role in SESs, but their interactions with each other and their environment are often underrepresented in SES modelling. We argue that more attention should be given to social aspects in models of SESs, but this entails additional kinds of complexity. Modelling choices need to be as transparent as possible, and to be based on analysis of the purposes and limitations of modelling. We recommend thinking in terms of modelling projects rather than single models. Such a project may involve multiple models adopting different modelling methods. We argue that agent-based models (ABMs) are an essential tool in an SES modelling project, but their expressivity, which is their major advantage, also produces problems with model transparency and validation. We propose the use of formal ontologies to make the structure and meaning of models as explicit as possible, facilitating model design, implementation, assessment, comparison and extension.

KW - Agent-based model

KW - Complexity

KW - Ontology

KW - Socio-ecological system

U2 - 10.1016/j.ecocom.2018.07.007

DO - 10.1016/j.ecocom.2018.07.007

M3 - Article

VL - 40

JO - Ecological Complexity

JF - Ecological Complexity

SN - 1476-945X

IS - B

ER -