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Caffè Nero: The Evaluation of Social Simulation



This contribution deals with the assessment of the quality of a simulation by discussing and comparing "real-world" and scientific social simulations. We use the example of the Caffè Nero in Guildford as a 'real-world' simulation of a Venetian café. The construction of everyday simulations like Caffè Nero has some resemblance to the construction procedure of scientific social simulations. In both cases, we build models from a target by reducing the characteristics of the latter sufficiently for the purpose at hand; in each case, we want something from the model we cannot achieve easily from the target. After briefly discussing the 'ordinary' method of evaluating simulations called the 'standard view' and its adversary, a constructivist approach asserting that 'anything goes', we heed these similarities in the construction process and apply evaluation methods typically used for everyday simulations to scientific simulation and vice versa. The discussion shows that a 'user community view' creates the foundation for every evaluation approach: when evaluating the Caffè Nero simulation, we refer to the expert community (customers, owners) who use the simulation to get from it what they would expect to get from the target; similarly, for science, the foundation of every validity discussion is the ordinary everyday interaction that creates an area of shared meanings and expectations. Therefore, the evaluation of a simulation is guided by the expectations, anticipations and experience of the community that uses it – for practical purposes (Caffè Nero), or for intellectual understanding and for building new knowledge (science simulation).

Suggested Citation

  • Petra Ahrweiler & Nigel Gilbert, 2005. "Caffè Nero: The Evaluation of Social Simulation," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 8(4), pages 1-14.
  • Handle: RePEc:jas:jasssj:2005-58-1

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Marco Haan & S. Dijkstra & Peter Dijkstra, 2005. "Expert Judgment Versus Public Opinion – Evidence from the Eurovision Song Contest," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 29(1), pages 59-78, February.
    2. Stratmann, Thomas, 1992. "The Effects of Logrolling on Congressional Voting," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 82(5), pages 1162-1176, December.
    3. Crombez, Christophe, 2000. "Spatial models of logrolling in the European Union," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(4), pages 707-737, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Petra Ahrweiler, 2017. "Agent-based simulation for science, technology, and innovation policy," Scientometrics, Springer;Akadémiai Kiadó, vol. 110(1), pages 391-415, January.
    2. repec:spr:scient:v:89:y:2011:i:1:d:10.1007_s11192-011-0432-8 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:ecomod:v:222:y:2011:i:19:p:3486-3499 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Gönenç Yücel & Els van Daalen, 2009. "An Objective-Based Perspective on Assessment of Model-Supported Policy Processes," Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, vol. 12(4), pages 1-3.


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