Wolfram Library Archive

Courseware Demos MathSource Technical Notes
All Collections Articles Books Conference Proceedings

Simpler Games: Using Cellular Automata to Model Social Interaction

Seth J. Chandler
Organization: Unversity of Houston Law Center

2003 International Mathematica Symposium
Conference location

Imperial College, London

In 1997, Professor Randal C. Picker published a pathbreaking article titled "Simple Games for a Complex World" in the University of Chicago Law Review. Drawing on earlier "Spatial Games" work done in theoretical biology, his article explained how legal interventions can affect the evolution of behavioral norms among a networked group of individuals who have modest computational abilities but do have an ability to learn from each other. This article shows that the Spatial Games model is mathematically equivalent to a cellular automaton. The reconceptualization of this area permits leveraging of the computational algorithms and insights regarding cellular automata. The article shows how the "coupling topology" of society and the learning algorithms of its members appear to affect the distribution of Wolfram Class I (homogeneous), Class II (regular), Class III (chaotic) and Class IV (complex) behavior in social systems for which the Spatial Games model serves as a useful metaphor. The Mathematica code used to reach these conclusions is available on the conference proceedings CD.

*Mathematics > Discrete Mathematics > Cellular Automata
*Social Science > Sociology and Psychology

cellular automata, social interaction, Spatial Games model, Regular Two Dimensional Lattices, Random Networks, Deterministic Misperception
Related items

*Challenging the Boundaries of Symbolic Computation: Proceedings of the 5th International Mathematica Symposium   [in Books]