Analyze real ecosystems via their digital twins. Explore the consequences of human interventions.
WHAT IS ECOTWIN?
Ecotwin is an open-source agent-based ecosystem simulator that runs on the game engine Unity. It operates on ecosystems with dead objects like mountains and lakes, and living objects like animals and plants. Animals are controlled by a combination of hardwired reflexes and reinforcement learning. Features of Ecotwin include:
Three-dimensional terrain models
Terrestrial and marine ecosystems
Generic models of animals and plants
Genotypes and phenotypes
Sexual and asexual reproduction
Sexual reproduction based on physical encounters
Nervous systems modeled by multiple neural networks
Individual and lifelong reinforcement learning
Generic model of reward based on happiness
Positive and negative reflexes
Real ecosystems are of course too complex to be captured in full detail by any mathematical or computational model within reach. Nevertheless, relatively realistic ecosystem simulators are badly needed for sustainable decision-making. Potential uses of agent-based ecosystem simulators include:
Consequence analysis of human interventions in real ecosystems via fishing, forestry, agriculture, and urbanization
Theoretical biology, including evolution and
Game theory and behavioral economics
The goal of the Ecotwin project is to build a relatively realistic ecosystem simulator by including several features of ecosystem development that are typically not fully implemented in other ecosystem simulators. Ecotwin supports all the features mentioned above. The present version is not very user-friendly, however, and does not scale well beyond about 500 animals.
An ecosystem with phytoplankton, copepods, and krill. The copepods follow a pattern of diel vertical migration. At night they forage near the surface and in the daytime they move to greater depths where there are fewer predators.
An ecosystem with sexually reproducing goats and grass of different colors. Reflexes that prevent the goats from eating grass of certain colors can arise via mutation. Goats with reflexes for avoiding lethal grass eventually dominate the population.