Computer Simulation

Computer simulation uses the computational and storage capacity of computers to model complex and dynamic systems of behaviors. In a typical application, a model of group process includes:

  • agents (group members) who act and interact;
  • attributes that describe these agents;
  • behaviors that the agents can display (behavioral repertoire); and
  • functional rules that specify how agents' attributes affect their behaviors and how other agents' behaviors affect these attributes.

Through a series of computational steps, the model generates the interaction of agents as it unfolds over time. At any point, the state of the interaction is described by the current values of agents' attributes. Such a computational model is a theory. It symbolically represents a real-world process, and its validity can be evaluated by comparing its output to empirical observations. Structurally, the ...

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