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.
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.
The prevalence of COVID-19 is shaped by behavioral responses to recommendations and warnings. Available information on the disease determines the population’s perception of danger and thus its behavior; this information changes dynamically, and different sources may report conflicting information. We study the feedback between disease, information, and stay-at-home behavior using a hybrid agent-based-system dynamics model that incorporates evolving trust in sources of information. We use this model to investigate how divergent reporting and conflicting information can alter the trajectory of a public health crisis. The model shows that divergent reporting not only alters disease prevalence over time, but also increases polarization of the population’s behaviors and trust in different sources of information.
The causal structure of a simulation is a major determinant of both its character and behavior, yet most methods we use to compare simulations focus only on simulation outputs. We introduce a method that combines graphical representation with information theoretic metrics to quantitatively compare the causal structures of models. The method applies to agent-based simulations as well as system dynamics models and facilitates comparison within and between types. Comparing models based on their causal structures can illuminate differences in assumptions made by the models, allowing modelers to (1) better situate their models in the context of existing work, including highlighting novelty, (2) explicitly compare conceptual theory and assumptions to simulated theory and assumptions, and (3) investigate potential causal drivers of divergent behavior between models. We demonstrate the method by comparing two epidemiology models at different levels of aggregation.
Social systems are uniquely complex and difficult to study, but understanding them is vital to solving the world’s problems. The Ground Truth program developed a new way of testing the research methods that attempt to understand and leverage the Human Domain and its associated complexities. The program developed simulations of social systems as virtual world test beds. Not only were these simulations able to produce data on future states of the system under various circumstances and scenarios, but their causal ground truth was also explicitly known. Research teams studied these virtual worlds, facilitating deep validation of causal inference, prediction, and prescription methods. The Ground Truth program model provides a way to test and validate research methods to an extent previously impossible, and to study the intricacies and interactions of different components of research.
Subsurface energy activities such as unconventional resource recovery, enhanced geothermal energy systems, and geologic carbon storage require fast and reliable methods to account for complex, multiphysical processes in heterogeneous fractured and porous media. Although reservoir simulation is considered the industry standard for simulating these subsurface systems with injection and/or extraction operations, reservoir simulation requires spatio-temporal “Big Data” into the simulation model, which is typically a major challenge during model development and computational phase. In this work, we developed and applied various deep neural network-based approaches to (1) process multiscale image segmentation, (2) generate ensemble members of drainage networks, flow channels, and porous media using deep convolutional generative adversarial network, (3) construct multiple hybrid neural networks such as convolutional LSTM and convolutional neural network-LSTM to develop fast and accurate reduced order models for shale gas extraction, and (4) physics-informed neural network and deep Q-learning for flow and energy production. We hypothesized that physicsbased machine learning/deep learning can overcome the shortcomings of traditional machine learning methods where data-driven models have faltered beyond the data and physical conditions used for training and validation. We improved and developed novel approaches to demonstrate that physics-based ML can allow us to incorporate physical constraints (e.g., scientific domain knowledge) into ML framework. Outcomes of this project will be readily applicable for many energy and national security problems that are particularly defined by multiscale features and network systems.
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.
Neural-inspired spike-based computing machines often claim to achieve considerable advantages in terms of energy and time efficiency by using spikes for computation and communication. However, fundamental questions about spike-based computation remain unanswered. For instance, how much advantage do spike-based approaches have over conventionalmethods, and underwhat circumstances does spike-based computing provide a comparative advantage? Simply implementing existing algorithms using spikes as the medium of computation and communication is not guaranteed to yield an advantage. Here, we demonstrate that spike-based communication and computation within algorithms can increase throughput, and they can decrease energy cost in some cases. We present several spiking algorithms, including sorting a set of numbers in ascending/descending order, as well as finding the maximum or minimum ormedian of a set of numbers.We also provide an example application: a spiking median-filtering approach for image processing providing a low-energy, parallel implementation. The algorithms and analyses presented here demonstrate that spiking algorithms can provide performance advantages and offer efficient computation of fundamental operations useful in more complex algorithms.
Anomaly detection is an important problem in various fields of complex systems research including image processing, data analysis, physical security and cybersecurity. In image processing, it is used for removing noise while preserving image quality, and in data analysis, physical security and cybersecurity, it is used to find interesting data points, objects or events in a vast sea of information. Anomaly detection will continue to be an important problem in domains intersecting with “Big Data”. In this paper we provide a novel algorithm for anomaly detection that uses phase-coded spiking neurons as basic computational elements.
Unlike general purpose computer architectures that are comprised of complex processor cores and sequential computation, the brain is innately parallel and contains highly complex connections between computational units (neurons). Key to the architecture of the brain is a functionality enabled by the combined effect of spiking communication and sparse connectivity with unique variable efficacies and temporal latencies. Utilizing these neuroscience principles, we have developed the Spiking Temporal Processing Unit (STPU) architecture which is well-suited for areas such as pattern recognition and natural language processing. In this paper, we formally describe the STPU, implement the STPU on a field programmable gate array, and show measured performance data.