Building an Artificial America in a Supercomputer

Synthetic citizens to help social scientists.

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A team of computer scientists and a physicist, from Virginia Polytechnic Institute, have created a fake world using real demographic data, to simulate human movement. The group claims, this is the largest, most detailed, and realistic, computer model of the lives of about 100 million Americans. The model’s creators hope the simulation will shed light on the effects of human comings and goings, such as how a contagion spreads, a fad grows, or traffic flows. In the next six months, the researchers expect to be able to simulate the movement of all 300 million residents of the United States.  

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