Topic: Modeling Genocide at the System and Agent Levels
Speaker: Elizabeth Von Briesen
Abstract: This research works to bridge the gap between the knowledge of social scientists in the field of genocide studies, and that of computational experts who have the ability to produce powerful models and simulations that can assist in the study and prediction genocide. A thorough understanding and visualization of the system level dynamics of the problem inform the implementation of an agent-based model that simulates local interactions in a society composed of two identity groups. The model explores how dynamics between agents with different identities, ideology, influence, susceptibility, and threshold to act against those of a different group, lead to the emergence of genocide. Early results indicate the model’s usefulness in exploring these dynamics and revealing the underlying factors of importance. The majority of simulations quickly result in genocide. However, the occasional appearance of sustained environmental stability points to the model’s strong potential for revealing significant differentiating factors between a stable society and one that experiences genocide. Given further refinement, this study has the potential to become a generic model for social scientists and genocide researchers that is useable, interpretable, and useful for predictive and analytic purposes.