COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE – The Origin of Agriculture in the Peiligang Culture: An Agent-based Modeling Approach – Yang Zhou

February 24, 2017 @ 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm
Center for Social Complexity Suite 3rd Floor, Research Hall, Fairfax Campus
Karen Underwood


Yang Zhou, CSS PhD Student
Department of Computational and Data Sciences
George Mason University

The Origin of Agriculture in the Peiligang Culture: An Agent-based Modeling Approach

Friday, February 24, 3:00 p.m.
Center for Social Complexity Suite
3rd Floor, Research Hall

The emergence of agriculture played an important role in human history as it allowed people to move from a nomadic (i.e. hunter-gather) to a sedentary (i.e. agricultural) lifestyle. This shift in lifestyle not only provided abundant food, but also sufficient numbers of non-cultivating specialists, which are necessary conditions for the rise of a civilization. However, questions about how and why agriculture originated have remained controversial. This paper explores the origin hypotheses of agriculture, using the canonical theory of social complexity as a framework to study the transition from hunter-gatherer to agricultural societies in the region of the Peiligang in China based on existing literature, and develops an agent-based model to simulate the transition process. The model assumes that a combination of population growth and gaining knowledge on plants drove the transition from hunter-gatherer to agriculture. Results show that based on the basic hypotheses and assumptions, the model is able to generate the key phases that are identical with the existing literature on such a transaction.

This session will be live-streamed on the newly created CSS program YouTube channel.