CS 1025 01 Computational Modeling and Simulation - 9 MWF - assignment two

  1. The textbook is Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams by Resnick. As of late Thursday afternoon, September 1st, the bookstore still had two used copies available.

    www.amazon.com link to textbook: Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams by Mitchel Resnick. NOTE: Use Search inside this book link to read pages 3 through 8 (First Pages) of the book, if you do NOT have it yet.

    Read pages 3-8 of the book (23 paragraphs). You can read these pages on the amazon.com link if you do not yet have the book. LOOK INSIDE the book and choose FIRST PAGES.

    For your convenience, I have provided the first sentence of each and every one of the pargraphs here. Makes a good outline and study guide to help your focus and note taking and the future discussion.

    Chapter 1 - Pages 3 through 8 - first sentence of each paragraph.
    These 23 paragraphs and these 6 pages are available in the amazon First 
    Pages preview LOOK INSIDE! this book.
                  ------------             Click to LOOK INSIDE!
    1                                      ---------------------
    Any study which throws light upon the nature of "order" or "pattern"
    in the universe is surely notrivial.
                         ---Gregory Bateson, Steps to an Ecology of Mind
    A flock of birds sweeps across the sky.  
    Like a well-choreographed dance troupe, 
       the birds veer to the left in unison.
           Then, suddenly, they all dart to the right
                 and swoop down toward the ground.
    How do birds keep their movements so orderly, so synchronized?
    Bird flocks are not the only things that work that way.
    In recent years, there has been a growing fascination with these types of systems.
    Almost everywhere you look these days, there is evidence of decentralization.
        ...                                                     ----------------
    But even as the influence of decentralized ideas grows, 
    there is a deep-seated resistance to such ideas.
    This assumption of centralized control, a phenomenon I call the 
    centralized mindset, is not just a misconception of the scientifically naive.
    Of course, centralized ideas are not always bad or wrong.
    That is starting to change, but only slowly.  There is a powerful tension.
    In this book I explore both the allure of decentralization and 
    the centralized mindset that resists it.
    My investigation consists of several interwoven threads, each of which 
    reinforces and enriches the others.
            Probing people's thinking.
            Developing new conceptual tools.
            Developing new computational tools.  (NetLogo turtle graphics)
    High-school students have used StarLogo to create and explore a variety 
    of decentralized microworlds.
    This research might seem like a strange mixture.  What field is it?
    The Era of Decentralization
    On December 7, 1991, Russian president Boris Yeltsin met with the 
    leaders of Ukraine and Belarus in a forest dacha outside the city of Brest.
    The next day, halfway around the world, another powerful institution 
    announced its own decentralization plans.  IBM chairman John Akers 
    publically announced a sweeping reorganization of the computer giant, ...
    Thus, within days, two of the world's most powerful institutions 
    announced radical transformations, abandoning centralized hierarchies
    in favor of more decentralized structures.
    The decentralization trend is evident in the ways that people organize
    countries and corporations, and in the ways people design new 
    technologies.  But more important, it is evident in the ways people
    THINK ABOUT the world.
    Of course, interest in decentralization is not entirely new.
    Nearly a century after Adam Smith, Charles Darwin brought the idea of 
    the invisible hand to biology.
    This section examines the trend toward decentralization in five different domains:
    As I investigated the growing interest in decentralized ideas in so many 
    varied domains, my first inclination was to try to figure out which 
    domain is the most influential.
    But as I thought about it, I realized that my inquiry was violating the 
    spirit of the very trend that I was trying to study.  Why should there 
    be a single, central, underlying cause for all of this decentralization?
    The following overview is necessarily superficial, ignoring many of the 
    subtleties and exceptions to the decentralization trend.
  2. Flocking of birds example: Watch the movie and then play with item #5, the NetLogo Flocking model published to the web. If you installed NetLogo, its found in the File menu > Models Library under the Biology category.

  3. Look at the Forest Fire model in the Earth Science portion of the NetLogo Models Library. Read about it first, then click RUN FIRE IN YOUR BROWSER to try it out.

  4. See the Table of Contents for chapter 2: Constructions and chapter 3: Explorations of the Turtles, Termites and Traffic Jams book:

    See the Models Library for NetLogo. All of these models will also be installed on your computer (PC or MAC) when you install the free NetLogo turtle graphics software.

    Biology category has SLIME model (see SLIME MOLD in chapter 3)
                         ANTS model  (see Artificial Ants in chapter 3)
                         TERMITES model (see Termites in chapter 3)
    Social Science category has Traffic Basic
                            and Traffic Grid (see Traffic Jams in chapter 3)
    Earth Science category has Fire (see Forest Fire in chapter 3)  

  5. Another forest FIRE model available from SHODOR.

Assignment Two for 9 MWF CS 1025 01
Due date: Monday, 09/12/2011

  1. Send email to jacobson@cs.uni.edu with your answers to the questions and tasks. Anytime by or on Monday 09/12/2011 is fine, including late that evening if needed. Feel free to scan in hand-written pen/pencil sheets and send as attachment too, if you wish.

  2. Read pages 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Turtles, Termites, and Traffic Jams. Take some notes. Here are questions about those readings.
    Questions on Resnick book pages 3-8 readinngs:
     1.  From the pages 3-8 readings, explain what the centralized mindset 
      "Visualize a flock of birds winging in the autumn sky or the amazing 
       synchronized fireflies that blink in unison lighting up whole trees 
       in the Far East. How do these patterns come about? All of these patterns 
       are emergent, there is no leader bird which other birds follow, no 
       conductor firefly leading the band -- these patterns emerge out of the 
       behavior of individuals and the adjustment of that behavior in 
       interaction with other individuals."
     2.  Look at the Flocking model in NetLogo models or the online version.
         What are the main three rules that each bird follows?
         Briefly explain or define each one of the three rules.
     3.  Which of the 3 rules birds follow seem most applicable for UNI
         students during the busiest times on campus when there is heavy
         foot traffic (and some bike traffic) on the sidewalks and in the
         hallways between classrooms and buildings and dorms?  Why?
     4.  Which rule of the 3 rules seems least to apply to UNI Panther
         between classes traffic?  Why?
     5.  On page 6, Russia, formerly the USSR, and IBM both announced 
         moves toward more decentralized thinking and organizing back 
         in December of 1991.
         Do you think trends and moves toward decentralization have 
         continued since then or not?  Give examples and/or discuss.
         Do you think more decentralized thinking and planning is needed?
     6.  Each turtle in NetLogo is a separate agent obeying and following
         its own set of rules and often causing surprising patterns to
         emerge.  Find one of the models from the NetLogo models library
         (online web based or using the NetLogo software) that we have
         not looked at in class and tell why you find its "emergent 
         behavior" interesting and why you would want to study it further.
    Questions on the readings ARE ALL HERE NOW.

  3. NetLogo agent based modeling and TURTLE GRAPHICS: Watch is this Netlogo basics video tutorial created one year ago, in the fall of 2010. Watch it. Take some notes on it. Its only 12 minutes long.

    There will be NO Questions on the NETLOGO video at this time.

Work ahead if you wish - future tasks coming soon

  1. Link to download and install NetLogo on your computer (PC or MAC). It is FREE!

    Netlogo is also available at most of the computer labs on the UNI campus, including all CNS labs and all of the SCC (Student Computer Center) labs like the Library, Union, Redeker, Towers, Lawther, etc.

  2. We will look at the NetLogo Flocking of Birds example next week, after Labor Day holiday. The textbook talks about birds and flocking behavior is observed and discussed in the movie Jurassic Park too! We will get to that movie in November and/or December.

  3. Predator/Prey model and NetLogo basics - Panthers versus Jackrabbits or Lynx versus Hare. There are several Predator/Prey models available in the NetLogo library. Try out this one: WOLF/SHEEP Predation - predator and prey model from NetLogo library of models.