Journal Article

Modelling and simulating decision processes of linked lives: an approach based on concurrent processes and stochastic race

Warnke, T., Reinhardt, O., Klabunde, A., Willekens, F. J., Uhrmacher, A. M.
Population Studies, 71:17, 69–83 (2017)
Open Access


Individuals' decision processes play a central role in understanding modern migration phenomena and other demographic processes. Their integration into agent-based computational demography depends largely on suitable support by a modelling language. We are developing the Modelling Language for Linked Lives (ML3) to describe the diverse decision processes of linked lives succinctly in continuous time. The context of individuals is modelled by networks the individual is part of, such as family ties and other social networks. Central concepts, such as behaviour conditional on agent attributes, age-dependent behaviour, and stochastic waiting times, are tightly integrated in the language. Thereby, alternative decisions are modelled by concurrent processes that compete by stochastic race. Using a migration model, we demonstrate how this allows for compact description of complex decisions, here based on the Theory of Planned Behaviour. We describe the challenges for the simulation algorithm posed by stochastic race between multiple concurrent complex decisions.

Keywords: computer science, family life cycle, microsimulation
The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock is one of the leading demographic research centers in the world. It's part of the Max Planck Society, the internationally renowned German research society.