Saturday, 14 July 2012

Online simulation demonstrates the high costs of civic intolerance

This neat demo, based on the Schelling Segregation Model and implemented using the Anylogic simulation tool in agent-based mode, shows what happens when you have two divided communities living in the same place such as a city or a country.
The shared living space is modelled as effectively a very large chessboard and each houseowner has a preference for living next to their own kind (race, tribe, religion, class, sexual preference etc). If this preference is met then they stay where they are otherwise they move house which leads to self-organisation of the chessboard.
The simulation shows that even a mild preference for living next door to your own kind soon produces a totally segregated societyAlso when you play the demo try putting a very strong preference (greater than 80%) on living next door to your own kind. This produces total chaos .... due to the fact that everybody just keeps on moving house and no stable state is ever reached!
Lots of good lessons here on the cost of intolerance and the power of a good simulation!!!

Ken Thompson (aka The BumbleBee) blogs about bioteams, virtual collaboration and business simulation at