Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 356–373 | Cite as

Evolutionary computation and agent-based modeling: biologically-inspired approaches for understanding complex social systems

  • Claudio Cioffi-Revilla
  • Kenneth De Jong
  • Jeffrey K. Bassett
SI: Data to Model


Computational social science in general, and social agent-based modeling (ABM) simulation in particular, are challenged by modeling and analyzing complex adaptive social systems with emergent properties that are hard to understand in terms of components, even when the organization of component agents is know. Evolutionary computation (EC) is a mature field that provides a bio-inspired approach and a suite of techniques that are applicable to and provide new insights on complex adaptive social systems. This paper demonstrates a combined EC-ABM approach illustrated through the RebeLand model of a simple but complete polity system. Results highlight tax rates and frequency of public issue that stress society as significant features in phase transitions between stable and unstable governance regimes. These initial results suggest further applications of EC to ABM in terms of multi-population models with heterogeneous agents, multi-objective optimization, dynamic environments, and evolving executable objects for modeling social change.


Agent-based modeling Social simulation Evolutionary computation MASON RebeLand model 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudio Cioffi-Revilla
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kenneth De Jong
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jeffrey K. Bassett
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for Social ComplexityKrasnow Institute for Advanced StudyFairfaxUSA
  2. 2.George Mason UniversityFairfaxUSA

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