Open Project to Investigate Money and Economic Systems

Thoughts on the codebase

:: code, python, repast

As usual, I’m in two minds about the future of the OPTIMAES code-base.

The original code was written in Python. Recent experiments have been done with Repast.Py.

There’s no doubt that Repast.py lets new users get going very quickly. It has a GUI, which lets you set up a simulation in a few minutes. And you get graphing and neat grid and network diagrams free. As one of the objectives of OPTIMAES is educational and particularly learning-by-exploring toy economic worlds, Repast.py fits well. It’s a good educational tool.

On the other hand, it’s not really Python, so you can’t use the full expressivity of the language to define complex models, nor can you integrate with other Python libraries. There are more powerful simulation and graphing libraries available which would be nice to use. But, these aren’t currently integrated into a package comparable with RepastPy.

At present I’m thinking of following the following strategy : the next few experiments will be done in Repast. However the original code-base will still be available to those who are interested. The Repast pseudo-python will be easy enough to adapt for use by anyone who’d like to work with this code-base.

Welcome to OPTIMAES

:: code, repast

OPTIMAES has moved again. Although hopefully, the domain name http://optimaes.net will have moved with it.

If you’ve never heard of it before : OPTIMAES stands for “Open Project to Investigate Money and Economic Systems”. It’s collaborative research project for people around the world to think about what money is and how it works. In particular :

  • we favour "amateur" involvement : the founders are not trained or professional economists (although we have some friends who are) and we want to encourage other non-professionals to start thinking about these questions too.
  • our method is informed by computer simulation. We start with agent-based computer models that are simple enough that you can run them on your own PC and can learn to perform your own experiments.

The original OPTIMAES code was written in Python. More recently we experimented with  Repast.py a Python-like scripting language on top of the Java-based Repast agent modeling environment. But have, so far, stuck with Python.