Exploring Agent-Based Simulations in Political Science Using Aggregate Temporal Graphs
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Agent-based simulation has become a key technique for modeling and simulating dynamic, complicated behaviors in social and behavioral sciences. As these simulations become more complex, they generate an increasingly large amount of data. Lacking the appropriate tools and support, it has become difficult for social scientists to interpret and analyze the results of these simulations. In this paper, we introduce the Aggregate Temporal Graph (ATG), a graph formulation that can be used to capture complex relationships between discrete simulation states in time. Using this formulation, we can assist social scientists in identifying critical simulation states by examining graph substructures. In particular, we define the concept of a Gateway and its inverse, a Terminal, which capture the relationships between pivotal states in the simulation and their inevitable outcomes. We propose two real-time computable algorithms to identify these relationships and provide a proof of correctness, complexity analysis, and empirical run-time analysis. We demonstrate the use of these algorithms on a large-scale social science simulation of political power and violence in present-day Thailand, and discuss broader applications of the ATG and associated algorithms in other domains such as analytic provenance.