12 June 2009

Patterns in crime

Visualising individuals’ movement through time and space (from Malleson, 2008[13]; GeoTime® software used courtesy of Oculus Info Inc. All GeoTime rights reserved.Arguments over whether social sciences can truly be described as ‘science’ are perennial; they have been around much longer than I have, and no doubt will run and run long after I’m gone. What is not in doubt is that they are now at least as dependent on scientific computing methods and resources as their physical science counterparts – one project ... author comments: ‘I really can’t stress enough that the project might have ended if we hadn’t been given access to... the NGS.’[1]

We will never approach the vision of Isaac Asimov[2], whose ‘psychohistorian’, Hari Seldon made detailed predictions over millennia with an accuracy and precision approaching those of orbital mechanics. The data involved is too chaotic for even a remote approximation to that. Hypotheses can, however, be generated that are testable within bounds useful and valuable in budgetary and policy planning terms – and even an indicative pattern of association, with no hypothesised explanation, can improve the effectiveness of resource targeting. [more]


Image: Visualising individuals’ movement through time and space (from Malleson, 2008[13]; GeoTime® software used courtesy of Oculus Info Inc. All GeoTime rights reserved.)

3 comments:

Dr. C. said...

Impressive. I like SWARM.

Nick Malleson said...

Great article! It's really interesting and I think you've really captured the essence of why we use ABM in social sciences. Thanks again for using my work as a case study, if you want any pointers/advice/info in the future please let me know.

doctorc said...

Felix, is there a real difference between SWARM and SIMILE? It seems like both permit multiple, independently running collections of processes (I assume represented by differential equations) with cross communication.