Wanted: Software for population dynamics modeling

Markus Frischknecht frischknecht at esh.unibe.ch
Thu Jun 10 12:17:00 EST 1993

Hi netters,

I'm developing a genetic population model to observe the frequencies
of several host types in a host-parasite system.

I made first steps on a Macintosh, using C as the programming tool
(Think C version 5, to be exact). Now someone from the computer
science department told me about several other ways, and suggested I'd
ask the net to see if other  people have experience in this field one
way or another.

This model is characterised by the following features:

- genetic model with diploid hosts
- population dynamics with maximum number of host individuals
- the parasite population is divided into several parasite clones
  (haploid, type is defined by one allele, i.e. no sexual reproduction)
- parasites choose host randomly
- damage of parasites sets survival chance of hosts, random
  number is used   for each host to see if it survives
- iteration over several generation

Possibilities that a program should offer:

- random number generator following various distributions: uniform
  distribution, discrete distributions with classes of given frequencies
- flexible data structures for host and parasite populations
- debugging tools, i.e. at least partly suitable for "normal" programming
- easy to extend with user-defined functions
- speed...
- perhaps built-in numerical approximations for derivations
  and finding min and max of functions with two independent variables

Are there any special programming packages that were developed to fit
these needs? I have seen a demo of Stella for the Macintosh, a program
to simulate systems with differential equations etc. For my approach,
I want programs that work with discrete population members rather than
with allele frequencies.

Another path would be programs like Mathematica or Maple, but I'm not
sure if programming and data structure handling is that easy. And
speed is of course another problem here, although I've heard that you
could transfer your programs and routines to mainframe computers after
developing (and debugging) them on your PC/Mac.

Present equipment: Mac IIsi with FPU, 9 MB, System 7.0.1

Thanks for any pointers and/or info. Email me directly if possible,
I'll summarise for the net.      - Mark

Markus Frischknecht   Internet: frischknecht at esh.unibe.ch
Universitaet Bern, Wohlenstrasse 50a, CH-3032 Hinterkappelen, Switzerland

  "Better to write for yourself and have no public,
   than to write for the public and have no self."  -- Cyril Connolly

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