An agent-based modeling approach to predict the impact on the environment of the introduction of cellphones for shepherds in Gujarat, India

David Ortiz Lopez, Purdue University


This research analyzes whether the introduction of cellphones for shepherds in Gujarat, India could affect the sustainability of the area from an environmental standpoint. The shepherds need to be able to meet their needs without compromising those of future generations of shepherds to consider the area sustainable. If the natural resources on which their sheep depend on are exhausted, this could not be possible. Prior to the use of cellphones, the shepherds rarely communicated with one another. However, with the introduction of cellphones they will have the capability to tell each other on a daily basis where the best grazing spots are and there is the risk that the sheep could consume the resources faster than they can be regenerated. Agent-based modeling and simulation techniques were used to study the impact of the introduction of cellphones. A programming framework called Pandora has been used to implement the agent-based model defined in this research. Pandora is an open-source project developed by Simulpast, a group of researchers from the Technical University of Catalonia. One of the main features of Pandora is that it facilitates the execution of the simulations in high-performance computing environments by enabling the parallelization of some processes. In this research, the implementation of the behavior of the shepherds is costly from a computational perspective because complex artificial intelligence algorithms are necessary. Parallelizing the processes that govern the behavior of the shepherds using Pandora helps to considerably reduce the execution time of the simulations. Several environmental scenarios were required to analyze the impact that the introduction of cellphones could have in Gujarat. Moreover, different frequencies of communication both face-to-face and using cellphones were tested. The results of the simulations were analyzed using statistical methods such as ANOVA and Bonferroni tests and suggest that, in all the scenarios considered, the introduction of cellphones for shepherds may negatively impact the sustainability of the area of Gujarat.




Evans, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Computer Engineering|Sustainability|South Asian Studies

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