Digital morphogenesis via Schelling segregation

23 May 2013
Andrew Lewis
The Schelling segregation model has been extensively studied, by researchers in fields as diverse as economics, physics and computer science. While the explicit concern when the model was first introduced back in 1969, was to model the kind for racial segregation observed in large American cities, the model is sufficiently abstract to apply to almost situation in which agents or nodes arrange themselves geographically according to a preference not to be of a minority type within their own neighbourhhood. Kirman and Vinkovik have established, for example, that Schelling's model is a finite difference version of a differential equation describing interparticle forces (and applied in the modelling of cluster formation). Despite the large literature relating to the model, however, it has largely resisted rigorous analysis -- it has not been possible to prove the segregation behaviour easily observed when running simulations. For the first time we have now been able to rigorously analyse the model, and have also established some rather surprising threshold behaviour. This talk will require no specialist background knowledge.