THE EVOLUTION OF BEGGING
COMPETITION, COOPERATION AND COMMUNICATION
School of Biological Sciences, University of Wales, Bangor, U.K.
Marty L. Leonard
Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada
KLUWER ACADEMIC PUBLISHERS
as described in Price et al, 2002 [link to Abstract ?] (not yet available)
The begging model consists of a simulation of blackbird nesting behaviour embedded within a simple genetic algorithm (for a good introduction to genetic algorithms, see Goldberg, D.E. 1989. Genetic Algorithms in Search, Optimization and Machine Learning. Reading: Addison-Wesley Publishing Company.)
Genetic algorithms search for near-optimum solutions. They work by creating variants in the design of a feature, testing variant performance in a computer simulation, selecting the best performers for further testing, introducing new variation and repeating these steps many times to find the overall best performance.
The nesting simulation tests the performance of strategies that specify how much each of a pair of siblings beg in relation to their condition, and how the parent allocates food in relation to begging level.
Using the model
If you want to use the model, download the model description, the begging model source code and the related parameter files. The begging model program (compiled) is also available. You need Microsoft QuickBasic (for Dos) or Microsoft Visual Basic (for Windows or Mac?) to modify and run the code. The model was written in Microsoft QuickBasic, but should run under Visual Basic, except for subroutines that display results on the screen.
To understand the model, you should know a bit about simulation, genetic algorithms and programming in Basic. If you only understand simulation, then read Goldberg and find a tame programmer to help you.
Download begging model description (MS word 97)
Download begging model source code (DOS text file)
Download begging model program (DOS executable file, xx k)
Download example parameter files (DOS text files)