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Spotlight (Contributed)
Workshop: AI for Agent-Based Modelling (AI4ABM)

Calibrating Agent-based Models to Microdata with Graph Neural Networks

Joel Dyer


Calibrating agent-based models to data is among the most fundamental requirements to ensure the model fulfils its desired purpose. In recent years, simulation-based inference methods have emerged as powerful tools for performing this task when the model likelihood function is intractable, as is often the case for agent-based models. In some real-world use cases of agent-based models, both the observed data and the agent-based model output consist of the agents' states and their interactions over time. In such cases, there is a tension between the desire to make full use of the rich information content of such granular data on the one hand, and the need to reduce the dimensionality of the data to prevent difficulties associated with high-dimensional learning tasks on the other. A possible resolution is to construct lower-dimensional time-series through the use of summary statistics describing the macrostate of the system at each time point. However, a poor choice of summary statistics can result in an unacceptable loss of information from the original dataset, dramatically reducing the quality of the resulting calibration. In this work, we instead propose to learn parameter posteriors associated with granular microdata directly using temporal graph neural networks. We will demonstrate that such an approach offers highly compelling inductive biases for Bayesian inference using the raw agent-based model microstates as output.

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