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What can simulation test beds teach us about social science? Results of the ground truth program

Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory

Naugle, Asmeret B.; Krofcheck, Daniel J.; Warrender, Christina E.; Lakkaraju, Kiran L.; Swiler, Laura P.; Verzi, Stephen J.; Emery, Ben; Murdock, Jaimie; Bernard, Michael L.; Romero, Vicente J.

The ground truth program used simulations as test beds for social science research methods. The simulations had known ground truth and were capable of producing large amounts of data. This allowed research teams to run experiments and ask questions of these simulations similar to social scientists studying real-world systems, and enabled robust evaluation of their causal inference, prediction, and prescription capabilities. We tested three hypotheses about research effectiveness using data from the ground truth program, specifically looking at the influence of complexity, causal understanding, and data collection on performance. We found some evidence that system complexity and causal understanding influenced research performance, but no evidence that data availability contributed. The ground truth program may be the first robust coupling of simulation test beds with an experimental framework capable of teasing out factors that determine the success of social science research.

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Feedback density and causal complexity of simulation model structure

Journal of Simulation

Naugle, Asmeret B.; Verzi, Stephen J.; Lakkaraju, Kiran L.; Swiler, Laura P.; Warrender, Christina E.; Bernard, Michael L.; Romero, Vicente J.

Measures of simulation model complexity generally focus on outputs; we propose measuring the complexity of a model’s causal structure to gain insight into its fundamental character. This article introduces tools for measuring causal complexity. First, we introduce a method for developing a model’s causal structure diagram, which characterises the causal interactions present in the code. Causal structure diagrams facilitate comparison of simulation models, including those from different paradigms. Next, we develop metrics for evaluating a model’s causal complexity using its causal structure diagram. We discuss cyclomatic complexity as a measure of the intricacy of causal structure and introduce two new metrics that incorporate the concept of feedback, a fundamental component of causal structure. The first new metric introduced here is feedback density, a measure of the cycle-based interconnectedness of causal structure. The second metric combines cyclomatic complexity and feedback density into a comprehensive causal complexity measure. Finally, we demonstrate these complexity metrics on simulation models from multiple paradigms and discuss potential uses and interpretations. These tools enable direct comparison of models across paradigms and provide a mechanism for measuring and discussing complexity based on a model’s fundamental assumptions and design.

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Emergent Recursive Multiscale Interaction in Complex Systems

Naugle, Asmeret B.; Doyle, Casey L.; Sweitzer, Matthew; Rothganger, Fredrick R.; Verzi, Stephen J.; Lakkaraju, Kiran L.; Kittinger, Robert; Bernard, Michael L.; Chen, Yuguo C.; Loyal, Joshua L.; Mueen, Abdullah M.

This project studied the potential for multiscale group dynamics in complex social systems, including emergent recursive interaction. Current social theory on group formation and interaction focuses on a single scale (individuals forming groups) and is largely qualitative in its explanation of mechanisms. We combined theory, modeling, and data analysis to find evidence that these multiscale phenomena exist, and to investigate their potential consequences and develop predictive capabilities. In this report, we discuss the results of data analysis showing that some group dynamics theory holds at multiple scales. We introduce a new theory on communicative vibration that uses social network dynamics to predict group life cycle events. We discuss a model of behavioral responses to the COVID-19 pandemic that incorporates influence and social pressures. Finally, we discuss a set of modeling techniques that can be used to simulate multiscale group phenomena.

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Group Formation Theory at Multiple Scales

Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics)

Doyle, Casey L.; Naugle, Asmeret B.; Bernard, Michael L.; Lakkaraju, Kiran L.; Kittinger, Robert; Sweitzer, Matthew; Rothganger, Fredrick R.

There is a wealth of psychological theory regarding the drive for individuals to congregate and form social groups, positing that people may organize out of fear, social pressure, or even to manage their self-esteem. We evaluate three such theories for multi-scale validity by studying them not only at the individual scale for which they were originally developed, but also for applicability to group interactions and behavior. We implement this multi-scale analysis using a dataset of communications and group membership derived from a long-running online game, matching the intent behind the theories to quantitative measures that describe players’ behavior. Once we establish that the theories hold for the dataset, we increase the scope to test the theories at the higher scale of group interactions. Despite being formulated to describe individual cognition and motivation, we show that some group dynamics theories hold at the higher level of group cognition and can effectively describe the behavior of joint decision making and higher-level interactions.

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Using High Performance Computing to Examine the Processes of Neurogenesis Underlying Pattern Separation and Completion of Episodic Information

Aimone, James B.; Bernard, Michael L.; Vineyard, Craig M.; Verzi, Stephen J.

Adult neurogenesis in the hippocampus region of the brain is a neurobiological process that is believed to contribute to the brain's advanced abilities in complex pattern recognition and cognition. Here, we describe how realistic scale simulations of the neurogenesis process can offer both a unique perspective on the biological relevance of this process and confer computational insights that are suggestive of novel machine learning techniques. First, supercomputer based scaling studies of the neurogenesis process demonstrate how a small fraction of adult-born neurons have a uniquely larger impact in biologically realistic scaled networks. Second, we describe a novel technical approach by which the information content of ensembles of neurons can be estimated. Finally, we illustrate several examples of broader algorithmic impact of neurogenesis, including both extending existing machine learning approaches and novel approaches for intelligent sensing.

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Augmented cognition tool for rapid military decision making

Vineyard, Craig M.; Verzi, Stephen J.; Taylor, Shawn E.; Dubicka, Irene D.; Bernard, Michael L.

This report describes the laboratory directed research and development work to model relevant areas of the brain that associate multi-modal information for long-term storage for the purpose of creating a more effective, and more automated, association mechanism to support rapid decision making. Using the biology and functionality of the hippocampus as an analogy or inspiration, we have developed an artificial neural network architecture to associate k-tuples (paired associates) of multimodal input records. The architecture is composed of coupled unimodal self-organizing neural modules that learn generalizations of unimodal components of the input record. Cross modal associations, stored as a higher-order tensor, are learned incrementally as these generalizations form. Graph algorithms are then applied to the tensor to extract multi-modal association networks formed during learning. Doing so yields a novel approach to data mining for knowledge discovery. This report describes the neurobiological inspiration, architecture, and operational characteristics of our model, and also provides a real world terrorist network example to illustrate the model's functionality.

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Modeling aspects of human memory for scientific study

Bernard, Michael L.; Morrow, James D.; Taylor, Shawn E.; Verzi, Stephen J.; Vineyard, Craig M.

Working with leading experts in the field of cognitive neuroscience and computational intelligence, SNL has developed a computational architecture that represents neurocognitive mechanisms associated with how humans remember experiences in their past. The architecture represents how knowledge is organized and updated through information from individual experiences (episodes) via the cortical-hippocampal declarative memory system. We compared the simulated behavioral characteristics with those of humans measured under well established experimental standards, controlling for unmodeled aspects of human processing, such as perception. We used this knowledge to create robust simulations of & human memory behaviors that should help move the scientific community closer to understanding how humans remember information. These behaviors were experimentally validated against actual human subjects, which was published. An important outcome of the validation process will be the joining of specific experimental testing procedures from the field of neuroscience with computational representations from the field of cognitive modeling and simulation.

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Simulating human behavior for national security human interactions

Bernard, Michael L.; Glickman, Matthew R.; Hart, Derek H.; Xavier, Patrick G.; Verzi, Stephen J.; Wolfenbarger, Paul W.

This 3-year research and development effort focused on what we believe is a significant technical gap in existing modeling and simulation capabilities: the representation of plausible human cognition and behaviors within a dynamic, simulated environment. Specifically, the intent of the ''Simulating Human Behavior for National Security Human Interactions'' project was to demonstrate initial simulated human modeling capability that realistically represents intra- and inter-group interaction behaviors between simulated humans and human-controlled avatars as they respond to their environment. Significant process was made towards simulating human behaviors through the development of a framework that produces realistic characteristics and movement. The simulated humans were created from models designed to be psychologically plausible by being based on robust psychological research and theory. Progress was also made towards enhancing Sandia National Laboratories existing cognitive models to support culturally plausible behaviors that are important in representing group interactions. These models were implemented in the modular, interoperable, and commercially supported Umbra{reg_sign} simulation framework.

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Engineering a transformation of human-machine interaction to an augmented cognitive relationship

Forsythe, James C.; Forsythe, James C.; Bernard, Michael L.; Xavier, Patrick G.; Abbott, Robert G.; Speed, Ann S.; Brannon, Nathan B.

This project is being conducted by Sandia National Laboratories in support of the DARPA Augmented Cognition program. Work commenced in April of 2002. The objective for the DARPA program is to 'extend, by an order of magnitude or more, the information management capacity of the human-computer warfighter.' Initially, emphasis has been placed on detection of an operator's cognitive state so that systems may adapt accordingly (e.g., adjust information throughput to the operator in response to workload). Work conducted by Sandia focuses on development of technologies to infer an operator's ongoing cognitive processes, with specific emphasis on detecting discrepancies between machine state and an operator's ongoing interpretation of events.

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25 Results
25 Results