Schneier on Security: Research in Behavioral Risk Analysis

An intriguing entry on Bruce Schneiers always stimulating blog covers research which seems to be simulation in all but name. What it is called doesnt matter, but is there an overlap situation here? Simulation researchers may already be looking at some of these issues.

Bruce says:
“Interdependent security (IDS) games model situations where each player has to determine whether or not to invest in protection or security against an uncertain event knowing that there is some chance s/he will be negatively impacted by others who do not follow suit. IDS games capture a wide variety of collective risk and decision-making problems that include airline security, corporate governance, computer network security and vaccinations against diseases. This research project will investigate the marriage of IDS models with network formation models developed from social network theory and apply these models to problems in network security.”

This seems to be the sort of systems/ human behaviour modelling znd simulation sometimes covered in the UK journal JASSS. (For instance essays on prison riots and water pollution.)

Maybe these dont have quite the same security focus as Bruces blog, but the same principles of modelling human behaviours are involved.

To put the point more elegantly than I can, Robert Axelrods 2003 article, “Advancing the art of simulation in the social sciences”, obtainable through his home page, demonstrates how simulation studies are widely dispersed, and adds: “The strength of simulation is applicability in virtually all of the social sciences. The weakness of simulation is that it has little identity as field in its own right.”

If this blog has a theme, other than my own steep learning curve, it is that simulation is a big field, split into many sub-divisions, and that simulators can learn from each other.

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