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Summary: www.electricitypolicy.org.uk
Agent Based Simulation of Technology
EPRG Working Paper 0923
D. J. Hamilton, W. J. Nuttall, and F. A. Roques
This paper draws upon techniques originally developed by physicists. We have
developed a computer simulation of thousands of householders living in a simplified
community. Each householder is a decision-making "agent" with a choice between
three possible sources of electricity. These choices comprise traditional mains
supply, combined heat and power or solar photovoltaic panels on the roof. This latter
technology choice is visible in the neighbourhood. Agents can "see" a neighbour's
solar panel installation, and this can give rise to a "fashion effect". Our simulation
exhibits the famous S-curve associated with the smooth uptake of a new technology.
In some circumstances we observe that the transition between technologies does
not occur smoothly, but rather in a series of radical and unstable jumps. We
establish which of the simulation parameters are of greatest importance and map the
behaviour of the system across the full range of these parameters. In so doing we
establish a picture of these phenomena that is reminiscent of a "phase diagram" in
physics. Some of the "phase transitions" that we observe appear to be discontinuous,


Source: Aickelin, Uwe - School of Computer Science, University of Nottingham


Collections: Computer Technologies and Information Sciences