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Seminar: Complex Systems Modeling of Ancient Societies
Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 2:00pm to Thursday, June 16, 2011 - 3:00pm

Dr. Scott Heckbert
Thursday, June 16th at 2 p.m.
Institute for Sustinable Solutions Conference Room
First Floor, Market Center Building
1600 SW Market, Portland OR

Scott Heckbert will be giving a special seminar on June 16 at the Institute for Sustainable Solutions. This presentation will give an overview of work to date on developing a simulation model of the ancient Mayan civilization. The body of archaeological research on the Mayan social-ecological system can be represented in quantitative models and be used to test theories of societal resilience. Agent-based modeling, cellular automata, and network theory are combined to represent the Mayan system, including functions for human activities and environmental processes. The purpose of the model is to present quantitative indicators of human-environmental resilience, examine how they functioned for past societies, and present suggestions on how to track similar indicators today. The value of developing a simulation model lies in the ability to explicitly define assumptions and test their effect on the overall system, as observed through changes in sustainability indicators over time and comparatively across scenarios. The model is evaluated based on the ability to generate outcomes consistent with the body of archaeological evidence.