The choice of a modeling approach is a critical decision in the modeling process, as it determines the complexity of the model and the phenomena that the model captures. In this paper, we aim to determine how the construction and results of an individual-based model differ from those of the mean field model on which it is based. An individual-based model examining the effect of vector life history and behavior traits on vector-borne pathogen spread was constructed, based on the corresponding mean field model that was formulated and analyzed previously by others. The structure, results, and analysis of the two models were then compared. We found that the individual-based model produced slower population dynamics than the mean field model, due to the addition of stochastic components and clumping in the individual-based model. However, despite this difference in the speed of the dynamics, we see roughly the same results between the mean field model and the individual-based model. This shows us that, for this particular system, the additional complexity and stochasticity of the individual-based model did not yield any major insights into the overall behavior of the system that was not already captured by the mean field model, but does allow us to investigate the effect of smaller-scale dynamics, such as clumping, on the system.
A Comparison of Individual-Based and Mean Field Model Approaches as Applied to Vector-Borne Pathogen Spread.
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