Research Questions

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We can pose a variety of research questions related to quantitative realism. They seem to fall into three categories:

  1. Implications of the abstract theory in and of itself
  2. Verification of the theory in light of historical events
  3. Analysis and interpretation of contemporary power structures

Subsequent wiki sections provide additional context on the questions listed below.

Abstract Implications

Questions about the abstract theory as an abstraction include:

  1. What patterns emerge when computational agents, animated by minimax game tree search, interact?
  2. In what ways do these patterns correspond with theories of political realism and balance of power?
  3. What general conclusions can be drawn about equilibrium and disequilibrium?
  4. What are the effects of move order?
  5. What are the effects of changing parameters?
  6. What are the effects of using continuous vs. discrete tactics?
  7. Is there a relationship between quantitative realism and the four classic strategic maxims: the enemy of my enemy is my friend, the enemy of my friend is my enemy, the friend of my friend is my friend, and the friend of my enemy is my enemy?
  8. What happens when agent moves are determined by a machine learning algorithm trained via self-play?
  9. What are the effects of extending the model to include things like physical distance, competition for scarce resources, and institutional constraints?
  10. Is there a relationship between quantitative realism and gravity models of trade?
  11. Is there a relationship between quantitative realism and Bruce Bueno de Mesquita's political theories?
  12. Can quantitative realism be made into an abstract board or computer game? Would it be any fun?

Historical Interpretation and Model Verification

Questions related to the application of the theory to historical events include:

  1. What empirical definitions of national power align most closely with quantitative realism?
  2. What does the model have to say about various historical situations? For example:
    1. The Greco-Persian Wars
    2. The Peloponnesian War
    3. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire
    4. The rise and fall of various Chinese empires
    5. Patterns in European imperialism
    6. The collapse of the Aztec and Maya empires
    7. World War I and II
  3. Does historical evidence support the law of motion?
  4. What parameter combinations best reflect various historical episodes?
  5. What is the empirical relationship between system polarity and stability?
  6. What general techniques and best practices can be found for modeling historical situations?
  7. Does quantitative realism apply to massively multiplayer online games like EVE Online?
  8. Does quantitative realism reflect anything meaningful about power struggles among non-human primates?

Analysis of Contemporary Power Structures

Questions pertaining to current-day power structures include:

  1. What is the current world power structure?
    1. Who are the major actors in it?
    2. What are their relative levels of power?
    3. What are their relationships?
  2. What data is available to determine this structure and update it in real time?
    1. Trade and economic data
    2. Military information
    3. Diplomatic data
    4. News event coding and social media analysis
    5. Cyber event monitoring
    6. Aggregation of expert opinion, prediction markets, etc.
  3. What are the risks and opportunities in the world power structure? Which relationships present the greatest threat to peace?
  4. What are the implications of quantitative realism for international order and global governance?



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