Feature - SimCity, social engineering and 60 million "people"
The ever-popular SimCity games allow players to create and manipulate their own fictional cities. Now grid computing is allowing researchers to do the same, this time with real social and geographic data. Image © Electronic Arts Inc. All rights reserved.
How long are you expected to live? Where do you go to hospital? Do you own your own home? How often do you go to football games?If you’re from the UK, chances are Mark Birkin has all of these answers…only he doesn’t know exactly which of his 60 million simulated “people” you are.A geographer by training, Birkin is part of a University of Leeds team using grid computing to run predictive models in their own real-life version of “SimCity”: integrating real Census data, survey data, healthcare data and more in an anonymous but accurate model of the entire UK population, and then projecting that information into the future.&ldqu