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


A complex adaptive system would be the spread of the Zika Virus. The agents would be a mosquitos (healthy and infected), and a healthy population of people - a few men, women, and a subset of pregnant women. The environment is an area that is warm and moist.

All of the agents move around randomly. When the mosquito comes in contact with a person they will have the virus. Another interaction rule would be to assign certain agents to be pairs (male/female) and if one of the pairs gets the virus the other would automatically get the virus based on sexual contact.


Explaining natural selection can be used with this model. The phenomenon or question that could be answered is why do giraffes have such tall necks. The agents would be the giraffes, trees and a predator like a lion. The environment would include trees maybe on a Savannah. The interactions between the agents would be that taller giraffes would get more food which would result in more energy to run away from the lions. As a result taller giraffes would survive better than giraffes with smaller necks.


I had thought of predators /prey model in ecosystem. The agents would be the predators, prey, prey food source. The environment could be any location. This could allow students to test different environments to see how the relationship changes from abiotic factors. Forest, grassland, mountain etc.
The interactions would be similar to the fish/shark/kelp example. Agent gets to other agent it eats it. The food source would grow slowly and independent of the others.


Wow, love this idea!


I really like this idea!


The predator/prey game is a classic. It can be played as a table top game or outdoors!


The complex adaptive systemI would like to model is the heating of baking soda inside a closed system. The agents would be the molecules of matter that make up baking soda… The environment would be a closed system that allows for phase changes based on how hot the closed system becomes. Can you create more gas by heating slowly or will gas produced remain constant?


The complex adaptive system I would consider is that of an oil spill. The agents would be the plants and animals in an area. The environment would be the ocean or area of the spill. How will the spill spread affect the organisms in the environment? How far will the spill cause issues for plants and animals?


In a biome there are many relationships, I will focus on food webs. The environment is where food is not only other animals but the plant life as well. The interactions of animals eating plants and animals eating other animals cause populations to grow and subside over time.


The Complex Adaptive System I chose in my reflection was a natural hazard. If I select a “limnic”, the agents are the plants and animals (humans included if applicable) in that particular lake and its surrounding environment. How quickly and how large of an area would the sudden release of hazardous amounts of carbon dioxide fill the air? How would scientists be able to extract the gases from the lake as preventative measure? What is the rate of recovery for the ecosystems in that area?


My students have been fascinated with the concept of a pandemic versus epidemic versus an outbreak. I like your idea!


Dartfrog Population in the Panama Rainforest:

Agents: # of frog, # of Ants, amount of rainfall
Environment: Panama rainforest
Ants provide energy
H2O provides breeding habitat


The phenomenon I am thinking about is the migration of the monarch butterflies. Its fascinating to study how they migrate to Mexico from different regions of the Untied states and Canada at certain time of the year.
The agents will be the monarch butterflies.
The environment first the region where they come from and their traveling spots before reaching their destination.
The interactions are with each other, and the specimens that they may encounter as they travel as well as their final resting place.


The phenomenon I thought was a complex adaptive system was a wolf/rabbit population.

The wolves and rabbits are the agents.
Their habitat is the environment
The interaction between wolves and rabbits results in changing population numbers.


My thoughts on a complex adaptive system involved phase changes in matter as a result of absorbing or releasing heat energy. In this case, the particles/molecules are the agents, and the environment is one in which thermal energy is present. The interactions between the agents and the environment would involve an inverse relationship between distance from energy source and particle motion.


That is a good example of agents acting with each other and acting with the environment. And doesn’t a completed trip take more than one generation of monarch butterfly? That really underscores the necessity of agents interacting with each other!


Since our school is moving to the integrated model for NGSS middle school this year, several of us started adding in lessons last year in order to ease the transition. I added a whole unit on ecosystems including lessons on human impact. We discussed freshwater and saltwater food webs and then predicted what would happen if one of the animals in the web suddenly died off due to an environmental disaster, such as an oil spill. I would use the complex adaptive system of a coral reef to expand on these lessons incorporating agent based modeling. The agents would be the various marine animals and plants living in the environment of the coral reef. The interactions are predator/prey, symbiosis, commensalism and parasitism.


I would look at the phenomenon of weather and the system interactions that cause weather. I would look at the water cycle and how the transfer of energy from the sun transforms water though its different states as well as the force of gravity in the water cycle. Of special interest would be the impact humans make when they interact with the closed system; dams and man-made lakes, concrete and run-off, etc.


The phenomenon I chose was the heat and product output in an exothermic chemical reaction between Aluminum and Copper Chloride (2). The agents would be the chemicals and the environment would be the flask. The interactions would be how much product and the the measure of thermal energy are produced through the single replacement reaction.


The phenomenon I would like to look at would be natural selection. Creating an environment that will show students how a beneficial physical trait will survive. The first agent would be a white moth. The second agent would be a black moth and the third agent would be a bird. The environment would be white barked trees. Students would see how quickly the black moths would be eaten by the birds because the white moths would be camouflaged.