Faculty Sponsor: Shyam Gouri Suresh
In light of the interconnected global society of the 21st century, societal formation and collapse remains a topic of interest for many social scientists. As agent-based modeling has only recently been applied to issues of urbanization and societal transition, there is considerable opportunity to apply computational techniques to studying the formation and collapse of societies in virtual worlds with varying types of agents and landscape features. In particular, it is worth considering the means by which societies can collapse as it relates to identifying signs of strain or impending decay. In particular, it is important to examine the three accepted forms of societal collapse – reversion, absorption, and obliteration – and consider how each might arise in seemingly ordered and stable societies. In this project, I analyze the ways in which environmental disasters and social crises can result in the collapse or formation of relatively complex societies composed of binary agents via either reversion, absorption, obliteration, or some combination of the three.