We present a modeling laboratory, Virtual Laboratory for the Simulation and Analysis of Social Group Evolution (ViSAGE), that views the organization of human communities and the experience of individuals in a community as contingent upon on the dynamic properties, or micro-laws , of social groups. The laboratory facilitates the theorization and validation of these properties through an iterative research processes that involves (1) forward simulation experiments, which are used to formalize dynamic group properties, (2) reverse engineering from real data on how the parameters are distributed among individual actors in the community, and (3) grounded research, such as participant observation, that follows specific activities of real actors in a community and determines if, or how well, the micro-laws describe the way choices are made in real world, local settings. In this article we report on the design of ViSAGE. We first give some background to the model. Next we detail each component. We then describe a set of simulation experiments that we used to further design and clarify ViSAGE as a tool for studying emergent properties/phenomena in social networks.
ACM Transactions on Autonomous and Adaptive Systems (TAAS) – Association for Computing Machinery
Published: Aug 1, 2008