Talking about ABSS: Functional Descriptions of Models
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Social simulation research lacks a common framework within which to integrate empirical and abstract models. This lack reflects an epistemological divide within the field. In an attempt to span that divide and in hope that it will lead to subsequent work on integrating abstract and empirical agent based social modelling research, I suggest here that a possibly suitable framework would derive from the mathematical notion of a function as a mapping between a well specified domain and a well specified range. The use of the function as an informal framework for the discussion of epistemological issues such as prediction, validation and verification is demonstrated as well as its use for structuring controversy about modelling techniques and applications. An example is drawn from the literature on opinion dynamics to explore the latter use.
KeywordsAgent-based social simulation validation verification model space opinion dynamics
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