Complex systems model of aggressive and friendly competition for resources in a simple society

Douglas Casazza, Colby College

Document Type Honors Thesis (Open Access)


My research goal was to use a complex adaptive system (CAS) to evaluate the extent to which a simple society of agents prefers or ignores the use of violence in interagent interactions. I wrote a CAS that is populated by 'human' agents whose goal is survival. The agents use classifier systems to make decisions based on their current needs. They 'live' in a two-dimensional grid that represents their world. This world contains food and water resources as well as the agents . I also wanted to get the experience of writing a complex adaptive system and a classifier system from the ground up. I have been interested in CAS for a couple years and have had the chance to modify an already existing system (Phaeacia). But I knew that in order to have a much more solid understanding of CAS and classifier systems, I would have to attempt writing my own. This system did not get as complete as I wanted it to be, but as a learning experience it was invaluable. If this were a purely experimental project, there are much more complete systems to start with that would have allowed me to go much farther in my experiments. However, as a project with the goal to learn about the programming involved in writing a CAS, this was a success.