AiS Challenge Team Interim Report


Team Number: 047

School Name: Manzano HS

Area of Science: Population Growth

Project Title: Virtual Civilization




This interim report will consist of three parts: a restatement of our initial abstract, a description of general skills our team has learned, and a report on our project status.

Initial Abstract

The world we live in today is a complex one. Technologies, natural resources, disasters, population growth…all of these are factors in our current society. But can these effects be properly illustrated in a computer simulation? Is there a mathematical model that can quantify the effects of these variables? The purpose of this project is to create several differently sized simulated populations and trace the growth of each until they die out. We will factor in available resources, technological development, conflict and disease, and other miscellaneous effects on the total population.

The results of this simulation can be a baseline for charting the timeline of an artificial colony or nation. By taking a certain size population and inputting that into the model, we can observe and record the survival rate of the population and adjust factors, such as original population and available resources, accordingly.

To begin, we will research the average consumption of resources per person, the rate of regeneration of these resources, the frequency of war and disease, and technology's effect on a culture. Interaction between different groups, represented by migration and resource sharing, may be included. These will be put into a computer model using C++ coding techniques. A graphic representation of the population growth may be included as well.

General Skills Training

During the past three months, our group has learned many important skills required for success in the Adventures in Supercomputing Challenge. Ever since the first day of class, our instructor has been teaching us the necessary aspects that are required in the curriculum.

First, we spent three weeks learning the general aspects of html. We learned about hyper links, placing images on a web page, placing colors, and cutting and pasting. Our final project in that rubric was to create our very own web page consisting of pictures, html codes, and placing tables. We edited an existing web page by replacing it with our own files and folders.

Then, we spent two to three weeks setting up both MHS AiS Challenge Linux accounts and accessing our New Mexico AiS Challenge Unix accounts. In our local Linux domain, we learned numerous Unix commands such as, ls, cd, mkdir, rmdir, making files via "pico", and copying/moving files. We also set up both telnet and ftp software at our home computers to allow us to interact with both MHS and the AiS Challenge site.

We spent a week discussing and researching general math algorithms for computing distances and velocities in simple motion problems, volumes of rectangular and cylindrical railroad cars, and creating mailing record databases.

Next, we spent five weeks learning the basic concepts of C++ programming code. We learned concepts and programming skills such as setting up the main function, cout and cin commands, mathematical computations, for loops, the use of if-else, mod, and setting up arrays. Also, we used the math algorithms in a Unix machine as the basis of most of our programs. Combining the math algorithms with programming skills, we then then wrote the C++ code to compute the volume of rectangular and cylindrical railroad cars, solving physics problems of motion, and creating a mailing record database. Basically, our instructor provided us with nominal information and starting templates to write the program code for the above sample problems.

Project Status

Our project is coming along well. We have developed a mathematical model and have done preliminary C++ programming. We have made a project website to report on our progress, and will soon post our source code. We have a basic population model, but the more complex aspects, such as migration and resource limits, have yet to be implemented.

We have researched predator-prey models and have implemented some of those formulas. We have also researched the average human consumption of natural resources, hoping to convert the raw data into a practical form. We will continue to find information on midgration factors, but most of our research is completed.

Team Members

Team Mail

Sponsoring Teacher(s)

Project Mentor(s)