Objectives of ExAMPLER

The main objective of ExAMPLER is to bring the social sciences to the conversation about the potential of exascale computing by considering the innovations needed to support a hypothetical one-day transdisciplinary workshop in which empirical agent-based modelling will be used to help evaluate the effects – positive and negative – of proposed policies to intervene in a developing crisis (such as the Covid pandemic, an extreme weather event, or serious disruption to trade). Such a workshop is only conceivable because exascale computing means that experiments with empirical agent-based models to explore such interventions, which generally take days or weeks, could be done instead in a matter of seconds, or even fractions of a second. This then raises important questions about developing the models in the first place, and assembling and integrating the data they will use.

To achieve this, we will benchmark 'exascale readiness' of empirical agent-based modelling against other disciplines – both related (e.g. ecology and microsimulation) and unrelated (e.g. another ExCALIBUR project application area) – using a systematic literature review of high-performance computing use for empirical agent-based modelling as a context. We will co-construct a vision of the working software and hardware environment needed to support empirical agent-based modelling in the context of a workshop such as that imagined above, and develop a roadmap for how that vision could be realized. We will engage with our own research community at various conferences where they generally meet, and with other ExCALIBUR projects through study visits and events they arrange.