Computer Science in Science PD: Agent Based Modeling of Complex Adaptive Systems - Discussion


Great idea! Student interest in this problem would be high. I would be curious to see what types of solutions that could come up with after doing the research.


When I taught 4th grade science in Seattle I taught a unit called
ecosystems which focused on the effects of acid rain on aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. We built physical models and then the changed variable was the amount of pollutants and then collected data on how it effected the two ecosystems. I could have used Agent Based Modeling with my students to create the same thing on the computer but in a much larger and more complex scale. They would have loved it.


My students were obsessed with Ebola last year and this would have been a great experiment for them!


I am wondering if migratory patterns are an example of a complex adaptive system. Also what guides this process year after year?


The systems I would like to create would involve a similar predator-prey type setup using animals in a forest ecosystem.


I’d like to make an agent based model of a zombie apocalypse. The agents would be humans and zombies. The environment is the city streets. If a zombie touches a human, the human becomes a zombie.


I have noticed many coyotes in my backyard during cold months.The sound they make when they catch their dinner sounds awful, but it would be great to create a simulation that predicts the population of squirrels and rabbits and how it affects the population of coyotes.


Oh this would be awesome! Students are really into zombies. I gave a lesson on using data and creating graphs to explain how many zombies are observed depending on the temperature outside. My students were even excited about the zombie homework.


My phenomenon would be based on the symbiotic relationship of parasitism, specifically as an outbreak of the West Nile Virus that is spread by the virus-carrying mosquitoes (vectors) to general populations (active vs non-active adults and youth); rural, suburban (areas of forest preserves) and urban areas of Chicagoland. Possible problem questions to test would be if there were differences in the infection rates from suburban vs urban areas; dry weather vs rainy patterns; active (more time spent outdoors) vs. non or lesser- active adults & youth.


I think it would be interesting to examine the reasoning behind the reintroduction of a predator for population control. For example some urban areas have reintroduced coyote (tagged and monitored) back into the urban ecosystem in order to control rodent populations. The rodents and coyote would be the agents and the city would be the environment.


Our students last year compared squirrel and grey wolf populations. If they had computer modelling, they would have been able to show the different agents, squirrel and wolves, interacting with predator agents, cars and ranchers, as well as oaks and rabbits, etc. It really would have deepened their understanding of the comparison and improved their presentations!


The phenomenon that I chose was the predator and prey relationship. The agents are the predator and the prey. The environment is the ecosystem. the interactions would be the predator eating the prey and what happens when the food supply has dwindled.


The phenomenon I chose was the same one in the video. I would model it in a terrestrial environment using owls, rabbits, and grass. I would be trying to answer the question on how terrestrial ecosystems remain in balance over time. The interactions would be between owl and rabbit, rabbit and grass, and grass independent of the other agents.


The phenomenon I think is a complex adaptive system would be an infectious disease. The agent would be the bacteria causing the disease and the environment would be the host or the person with the disease. The interactions would be how the disease spreads based on human interaction. When I saw this video, it reminded me of this game I show my students online where it simulates when a person sneezes on another person and the exponential spread of that germ. It’s the same idea.


This is a great example and very real world, especially in the Chicagoland area. West Nile virus and even the Emerald Ash disease would be a good topic to study under this type of simulation.


How would we model the complex relationships between middle school students?
The agents might include positive vibe givers who gave encouragement to energize others, negative vibe givers who took away energy from others, and by standers who absorbed the negative and positive energy.
The environment might be the cafeteria or locker room.
The interactions would be giving energy, taking away energy, and being able to turn into an energy giver or an energy taker. Hmmm.


I would love to see this model. Students would enjoy anything with animals.


Could model water filtration versus direct stream access and how the contaminants could affect aquatic ecosystems. This could explain one purpose of rain gardens in the community.


My agents are measles and the population. The environment would be a kindergarten classroom. The interactions between the agent and the environment would be the affects those students have on measles have on the rest of the class population that have been given shots, contracted the measles prior, or have had neither experience.


The phenomenon I am choosing is bottle rockets. My students create models of rockets every year using plastic bottles propelled by water and pressurized air. This year I wanted them to use an agent based model online but could not find one to simulate the effect of using different types of wings on the hang time of the rocket… This would be a great way for them to learn how to use the agent based modeling of complex adaptive systems. While keeping the amount of water and air constant, the agents included would be the size and shape of the wings, the diameter and shape of the nose cone and the weight of the rocket. Interactions of these parts can be useful for the space program.