School: PIEDRA VISTA HIGH
Area of Science: Behavioral and Social Sciences
History has demonstrated that over time all societies go through periods of birth, growth, and decline. In some instances civilizations have existed with others in relatively stable conditions, but there have also been cases where civilizations expanded and declined rapidly. Some causes for these variations are well known, but others are much less obvious.
We will investigate the factors that create stable civilizations based on a model of empires that form, expand, and collapse based on many variables that govern their behavior and interaction. We will write code that models these scenarios given different initial values and constant factors, such as:
To aid in the interpretation of the results a graphical representation will be implemented that models the growth/decline dynamics of each empire in the simulation as a function of time.
- Solidarity and "Power" as defined by Turchin's mathematical models
- Economic vitality
- Geographical spatial advantage
- Military predisposition
- Natural Resource Availability
Progress to Date:
We have written a python program based on the framework of the Java program listed in our resources. This program utilizes many of Turchin's equations of societal growth, decay, and interaction to simulate the evolution of civilizations over the course of time. We have added many variables (examples listed above) to more accurately predict the change of civilizations over time. This program is intended to run on a high speed computer as the data processing requires more resources than we have available.
We still have to add more of the aforementioned variables/equations and then create a "viewer" program to parse the output and graphically display the results. By comparing the results of many trials to historical fact, we expect that Turchin's models will prove true, but also anticipate gaining many interesting insights in to the ways societies develop.
- Turchin, Peter. Historical Dynamics: Why States Rise and Fall (Princeton Studies in Complexity)
- Turchin, Peter. War and Peace and War : The Life Cycles of Imperial Nations
- Diamond, Jared. Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed
- Sierra, Kathy, Bert Bates. Head First Java, Second Edition
- Lie Hetland, Magnus. Practical Python
Sponsoring Teacher: Dennis Williams