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Activity Number: 609
Type: Contributed
Date/Time: Wednesday, August 7, 2013 : 2:00 PM to 3:50 PM
Sponsor: Social Statistics Section
Abstract - #308105
Title: Statistical Versus Agent-Based Demography: Bridging the Gap with Gaussian Process Emulators
Author(s): Jakub Bijak and Jason Hilton and Eric Silverman*+
Companies: University of Southampton and University of Southampton and University of Southampton
Keywords: Agent-based modelling ; Gaussian process emulators ; Multi-state models ; Population dynamics ; Sensitivity Analysis ; Statistical demography

In statistical demography information about population processes is inferred from empirical data. In contrast, agent-based approaches focus on aggregate outcomes of individual-level behavioural rules. Given the non-linearities and feedbacks present in agent-based settings, their direct statistical analysis is often very difficult. Hence, in order to bridge the gap between these two perspectives, we propose to utilise Gaussian process emulators, which enable studying the outcomes of rule-based models statistically. The suggested approach includes a sensitivity analysis, assessing the relative importance of different model parameters, and calibration, aimed at selecting plausible parameter values. The discussion is illustrated by presenting a Semi-Artificial Model of Population, which augments an agent-based model of partnership formation with statistical data on natural population change in the United Kingdom. The resulting multi-state model of population dynamics is better aligned with selected aspects of the demographic reality than its underpinning agent-based component alone. The analysis also indicates important trade-offs between different parameters and outputs considered.

Authors who are presenting talks have a * after their name.

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