An Application of Agent Based Social Modeling in the DoD

  • Catherine ZanbakaEmail author
  • Jason HandUber
  • Desmond Saunders-Newton
Part of the Understanding Complex Systems book series (UCS)


PMRFSim is a proof of concept geospatial social agent-based simulation capable of examining the interactions of more than 60,000 agents over a simulated year within a few minutes. PMRFSim utilizes real world data from federal, state, and local authorities to create the heterogeneous agent environment. All agents are endowed with demographic and geospatial attributes. Agents interact with each other and respond to events. PMRFSim also models adverse agents which have harmful intent and goals to spread negative sentiment and acquire intelligence. PMRFSim allows an analyst to construct various what-if scenarios and generates numerous graphs that characterize the social landscape. This analysis is intended to support public affairs officers in exploring the social landscape under various initial conditions and scenarios.



This work was supported by US office of the Naval Research (ONR Contract N00014-07-C-0544). The authors would like to thank Dr. Sun-Ki Chai of the Hawaii Social Science Research Group for conducting sentiment analysis and identifying the topics of interest for the population under study. The authors would also like to thank Brian Chock from BAE Systems, Hawaii for his valuable feedback. Last, the authors would also like to thank Dr. John Sciortino for allowing us to use NRL’s Java agent-based modeling packaged dubbed SWARM. The views and conclusions in this paper are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as representing official policies of the Office of Naval Research.


  1. 1.
    Axelrod, R.: The dissemination of culture: a model with local convergence and global polarization. J. Confl. Resolut. 41(2), 203–226 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Bernardo, J., Smith, A.: Bayesian Theory. Wiley, New York (1994)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Byrne, D.: An overview (and underview) of research and theory within the attraction paradigm. J. Soc. Pers. Relat.Ships 14, 417–431 (1997)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Epstein, J.M., Axtell, R.L.: Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up. MIT Press, Cambridge (1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Epstein, J.M.: Modeling civil violence: an agent-based computational approach. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 99(3), 7243–7250 (2002)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Frank, A., Saunders-Newton, D.: Journey from analysis to inquiry: Technology and the transformation of counterterrorism analysis. In: Yen, J., Popp, R. (eds.) Emergent Information Technologies and Enabling Policies for Counter Terrorism, pp. 315–329. IEEE/Wiley Interscience (2006)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    MacKerrow, E.P.: Understanding why—dissecting radical islamist terrorism with agent-based simulation. Los Alamos Science 28, 184–191 (2003)Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    McPherson, M., Smith-Lovin, L., Cook, J.M.: Birds of a feather: homophily in social networks. Ann. Rev. Sociol. 27, 415–444 (2001)CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Moon, I., Carley, K.M.: Modeling and simulation of terrorist networks in social and geospatial dimensions. IEEE Intell. Syst. Spec. Issue Soc. Comput. 22, 40–49 (2007)Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Pynadath, D.V.: PsychSim: agent-based modeling of social interactions and influence. In: Proceedings of the International Conference on Cognitive Modeling, pp. 243–348. ICCM Press, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania (2004)Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Schelling, T.C.: Micromotives and Macrobehavior. W. W. Norton, New York (1978)Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Weisbuch, G.: Social opinion dynamics. Econophysics and Sociophysics, vol. 10, pp. 339–366 (2006)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Zanbaka
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jason HandUber
    • 2
  • Desmond Saunders-Newton
    • 3
  1. 1.Berytus Tech, LLCAtlantaUSA
  2. 2.BAE SystemsBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.School of Policy, Planning and DevelopmentUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations