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Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

The Story of this Blog… From International Relations to Evolution to Intelligence

Readers of this blog may have noted an apparent disconnect between the name denoting evolutionary perspectives on the international system and the heavy emphasis on intelligence analysis. Since starting this blog two years ago, I have been surprised by the shift in emphasis although the path connecting my interest in evolutionary theory, agent-based modeling and intelligence is a rather easy process to trace. I figured this would be a good time to document this path and explain how an initial commitment to complexity science and international relations theory has emphasized one of the least studied and examined parts of the field. Read the rest of this entry »


A while ago I made some comments on Richard Danzig’s CNAS piece, Driving in the Dark. It had been my intention to follow-up that post quickly, but as often happens, other demands rose to the top of the stack. For the sake of completeness, I wanted to follow up with some additional thoughts on the second part of his paper. Read the rest of this entry »

Commemorating Desmond Saunders-Newton

Today, November 24th, marks the one year anniversary of the passing of Desmond Saunders-Newton, a dear friend and mentor who left this world far too soon. Dez, as he was known, possessed a unique combination of vision and ability to think big, and yet connect with people on the most human and personal of terms. He first introduced me to complexity theory, Agent-Based Modeling (ABM), and computation in general, creating the lens through which I see the international system through. I don’t fully know how to characterize my years of working with Dez, or the depth of the pain felt by his absence, but wanted to acknowledge his role in my life in some way on this Thanksgiving holiday. Read the rest of this entry »

Comments on Richard Danzig’s Driving in the Dark

Last month the Center for New American Security (CNAS) published an excellent report by Richard Danzig called Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction and National Security. While much of what has been said in this report has been discussed elsewhere, I believe that this report provides one of the most coherent, complete, and compact discussions regarding how to cope with inevitable failures of prediction in national security policy. This posting discusses three interesting points that Danzig makes in the first half of his report. A follow-up posting will continue by examining the second half of the report. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 6

Previous posts had examined the replicator equation as the basis of agent behavior in an arms race defined by a game of rock-paper-scissors (RPS). This post begins a follow-on examination regarding the use of best-response as an alternative behavior or strategy on the part of competing agents. In some ways, best-response may be unrealistic with respect to how agents can adapt, especially if they are capable of making large jumps or changes to strategies in short-periods of time that are not reflective of real-world organizations. However, in other ways, the strategy is quite realistic for social actors because it affords them opportunities to revive dead or eliminated strategies when suitable while the biologically based replicator loses them forever once extinct. Read the rest of this entry »

Some Quick Thoughts on Economics in International Relations Theory

The other day I was reviewing some of the older literature on international politics and relations. From the vantage point of a few of decades, the injection of economics into international relations and its influence is obvious. The major debates that largely pivoted around Ken Waltz’s neorealism and Robert Keohane’s neoliberalism essentially reflected alternative applications of models and methods imported from economics, perhaps most brilliantly exemplified by Keohane’s adaptation of Akerlof’s market for lemons in order to argue for the importance of institutions (or regimes as he defined them in After Hegemony). Read the rest of this entry »

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 5

The last examination of the rock-paper-scissors (RPS) model added spatial considerations to the replicator equation, used as the basis for agent logic. Here, the outputs and responsiveness to geographic considerations are examined using the modified replicator equation discussed earlier. Read the rest of this entry »

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 4

It has been a while, but I’m going to return to the Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) model that I started developing several weeks ago. This posting looks at the mechanics of of adding geography to the model, while a future posting will actually run the geographic version of the model—this posting is essentially a bridge between model assessments. Having already established that the agent-based framework can replicate the behavior of the equation based model, modifications to the ABM can add new features and relax assumptions embedded in the mathematical formalism, allowing for explorations that are increasingly relevant to the international system. Read the rest of this entry »

Evolved Threat Wargame Observations

Last week I had the opportunity to participate in the 4th and final wargame in a series examining the future of warfare. The game itself presented a fairly standard gaming scenario, which proved to be quite challenging given the likely capabilities of red (adversary) forces and the political situation that framed the conflict. Read the rest of this entry »

IIASA Workshop on Systemic Risk

I've just participated in a two day workshop in Vienna hosted by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) called Security in the age of Systemic Risk: Tactics and Options for Dealing with Femtorisks and Beyond. This intimidating title masked the openness and interdisciplinary character of the workshop, which brought together a variety of scholars and practitioners working in the areas of complexity science, risk analysis, decision sciences, mathematics, and international relations, continuing the conceptual and community development that started in 2008 at the Santa Fe Institute looking at complexity and international relations. Read the rest of this entry »
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