Proposing an information criterion for individual-based models developed in a pattern-oriented modelling framework

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Authors Cyril Piou, Uta Berger, Volker Grimm
Journal/Conference Name Ecological modelling
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Individual-based models (IBMs) have been improved in quality and reliability in recent years with an approach called pattern-oriented modelling (POM). POM proposes guidelines to develop models reproducing multiple patterns observed on the field and to test systematically how well the IBMs reproduce them. POM studies used generally traditional methods of goodness of fit such as the sum of squares evaluation or ad hoc comparisons of fitting errors and variations. Model selection, however, can be a rigorous statistical approach based on information theory and information criteria such as the Akaike's information criterion (AIC) or the deviance information criterion (DIC). So far, it has not been tried to link POM to these rigorous techniques. The main problems to achieve that are: (a) the difficulty to have likelihood functions for IBMs’ parameters and (b) the possibility to obtain posterior distributions of IBMs’ parameters given the patterns to reproduce. In a first part, this paper answers problem (a) by proposing and explaining how to calculate a deviance measure (POMDEV) for models developed in a context of POM. And while answering the second problem, a second part of the paper proposes an information criterion for model selection in a POM context (the pattern-oriented modelling information criterion: POMIC). This criterion does not yet have the same theoretical foundation as, e.g., AIC, but uses formal analogies to the DIC. In a third part POMIC is tested with a modelling exercise. This exercise shows the potential of POMIC to use multiple patterns for selecting among multiple potential submodels and eventually select the most parsimonious and well fitting model version. We conclude that POMIC, although being a heuristically derived approach, can greatly improve the POM framework.
Date of publication 2009
Code Programming Language R

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