(iZone) Computer Science in Science PD: Agent Based Modeling of Complex Adaptive Systems #4

Reflect on the complex adaptive system you identified after watching the Complex Adaptive Systems video. Describe the phenomenon in terms of how you might model it answering the questions posed in the Model Observation Form document. What is the phenomenon you thought was a complex adaptive system? - Who/what are the agents? - What is the environment? - What are the interactions between agents and/or between agents and the environment?
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://studio.code.org/s/sciencePD-iZone/stage/5/puzzle/4


You can use the adaptation modeling by creating an organism and viewing how a particular agent affects it. I could use it to see the affect of auxin on plants growth- varying the amounts of auxin.


The phenomenon that I thought was a complex adaptive system earlier was a colony of ants that work together to solve problems as they arise.
Agents: ants
Environment: the part of the ecosystem that the ants occupy

The agents in this case can work together to carry objects too large or heavy to carry alone. The ants also manage to move about in a way that creates very little inefficiencies. Even though there can be hundreds or thousands of ants working together, they usually do so in a very organized manner that minimizes bottle necking or collisions. If an ant does display a problem or is unable to contribute, then it will be taken away, especially if it is contagious. This is illustrated in the Planet Earth episode on Jungles, where an ant infected with a killer fungus is removed from the colony. The killer fungus is called Cordyceps, and there is a specific one for each insect species…sort of like mother nature’s population control?


Adaptive modeling can be used to show how hetero-genius mixtures can be filtered using different materials.


The phenomenon I thought was a complex adaptive system was “convection currents,” or the method of heat transfer by the mass movement of molecules of fluids due to varying temperatures in different parts of the environment.

The agents are the molecules of gas or liquid. The environment is the atmosphere, or hydrosphere, or underground where magma is.

The interactions between agents can be described in terms of their movement in the presence (or increase) or absence (or decrease) of heat.

When there is a decreased amount of heat, the molecules of gas or liquid move closer to each other, making them more dense. When this whole mass of molecules become dense, they tend to sink. Conversely, molecules of gas or liquid tend to move farther away from each other when heat is increased. As a result, they become less dense, and float or over to the upper regions of their environment, usually away from the source of heat, which in turn will make them cooler, which results to them becoming more dense and sink, and the cycle goes on. This leads to a circular pattern of molecules due to their continuous rising and sinking as reactions to varying amounts of heat in the environment.

The agents’ interaction with the environment can be observed in the way the molecules react to hotter and colder regions of the environment, bringing with them the heat energy that the molecules have absorbed.


Stream distribution of sediments is a complex adaptive system.

The agents are the different size particles of sediment in the stream.the environment is the stream.

We know that stream velocity distributes particles by size. The faster the velocity, the heavier the further the heavier particles can be moved.


The phenomenon I thought was a complex adaptive system was the cell. The agents would be the organelles. The environment is the cell. The organisms would interact by each doing their job to keep the cell alive. We would be able to study how a problem in one organelle could affect the rest of the cell.


Reflection for: Stage 5: Agent Base Modeling of Complex Adaptive Systems
The complex adaptive system that comes to mind is a simulation of how predators and environment influence coloration of guppy causing the guppies’ populations to change over time.
The agents involved were male and female guppies of different colors and predators Rivulus, Acara, and Cichlid.
The environment was different parts of a stream and different types of predators in the stream.
The color of the guppies determined which female guppies will be mated. In addition, the color of the guppies also determined whether or not they would be eaten by predators. The locations of the stream where the guppies are found also determine the survival rate of the guppies because the different (head of the stream, middle of the stream end of the stream) locations within the stream determine the amount and type of predator present.


I agree with your selection of the cell as a phenomenon that exemplify Complex Adaptive System. Indeed inside the cell would be the environment, but I would suggest that we look at the cytoplasm as the environment since it is within this organelle that most of the other organelles are found.


I mentioned evolution by natural selection. This would be very complex but you could do it using a model similar to an ecosystem model. Thinking about the classic Darwin’s finches example, you’d have agents to represent different food sources (seeds of different sizes, for example), which would follow rules for how often to reproduce, perhaps dependent on environmental weather conditions. You’d have agents representing finches, which would have beaks of different characteristics that would allow them to interact with the food agents in different ways - certain size/shape beaks could not eat certain size seeds, for example). You would run the model over many seasons with changing conditions and would see how different species might form as some beak shapes/sizes were more successful while others disappeared (were selected against).