CoopSim - A Computer Simulation of the Evolution of Cooperation. User's Manual

1 Introduction
2 Aknowledgements
3 License
4 Installation
5 First Steps - A guided tour through CoopSim
6 Comprehensive Overview
7 Advanced Topics
8 Further Reading

1 Introduction

CoopSim is a computer simulation of the reiterated prisoner's dilemma. The reiterated prisoner's dilemma is a model for many (but not for all) cooperation dilemmas discussed in social sciences. It is also useful as a model for the evolution of altruistic behaviour in biology. The computer program CoopSim has been written for use in an undergraduate course on the “Evolution of Cooperation”. Its purpose is mainly educational.

The reiterated prisoner's dilemma and its simulation on the computer is discussed in a very understandable form in the book “The Evolution of Cooperation” by Robert Axelrod. Therefore, it will not be explained here any more (see section “Further Reading” for some recommendable books on the topic). A basic knowledge of what the prisoner's dilemma is and what it has got to do with altruism and cooperation is presupposed in the following. The program CoopSim is largely based on the description of Axelrod's book. However, the whole program has been written from scratch without taking recourse to Axelrod's original Fortran program. I did so, because I wanted the program code to be readable enough so that students with some programming knowledge might be encouraged to extend the program and to implement strategies of their own. Also, I wanted the simulation to have a nice user interface so that I could do “life” simulations under different boundary conditions in class.

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