Version Matrix

Language Agents - Rational Speech Act simulations

This simulation software was designed for Blokpoel, Dingemanse, Kachergis, Bögels, Toni and van Rooij, (under review). It builds on the Rational Speech Act (RSA) theory by Frank & Goodman (2012). The simulations and analyses are intended to investigate the effects of lexicon ambiguity, order of pragmatic reasoning and asymmetry between agents on the agent's ability to successfully communicate. The software can also be used to create your own simulations based on RSA.

There are several use-cases to explore. While the documentation has been written to be self-contained, it is recommended to read the main paper and its supplementary information as well.

  1. Tutorial 1 and 2: The RSA implementation and the simulation experiments
  2. Running the simulations
  3. Performing data analysis
  4. Extending the simulation

Tutorial 1 and 2: The RSA implementation and the simulation experiments

These tutorials are recommended to be followed in order. They explain how we have implemented RSA theory and the experiments reported in the main paper in Scala. The easiest way to use these Jupyter notebooks is via Docker.

Visit the Docker website, register for a free account and download the Docker Desktop client. After installation, login to Docker Desktop using your account. If you have already installed Docker you can skip the installation. You can now start an instance of Jupyter Notebooks with support for the Scala programming language. Open a terminal or Cmd-prompt and execute the following command:

$ docker run -it --rm -p 8888:8888 almondsh/almond:0.8.2

The notebooks should work with any version later than 0.8.2, but note that using :latest grabs the 0.5 version.

After Docker has finished downloading the necessary files, copy-paste the URL it reports into a browser. You will be greeted with a file explorer and now need to upload the .ipynb notebook files. Download the tutorials here:

  1. Tutorial 1: The RSA implementation
  2. Tutorial 2: The simulation experiments

You can then open and use the tutorials. For more information on using Jupyter notebooks see here.

Running the simulations

The easiest way to run the simulations would be to use the provided Jupyter notebooks and the installation instructions from the tutorials. This way, you do not need to install the three necessary components (Scala, Java and Apache Spark) manually on your system. Follow the installation instructions and grab the following notebooks:

  1. Uniform Simulation Experiment (from the main paper)
  2. Random Simulation Experiment (from the supplementary information)
  3. Structured Simulation Experiment (from the supplementary information)

Alternatively, you can install Scala, Java and Apache Spark on your own system (or compute cluster) and run the software either using the binary from the command line or from the IntelliJ IDE. You can find instructions for this advanced method here.

Performing data analysis

The R-notebook provides detailed description of the data analysis procedures. You can view the pre-compiled notebook here or you can download the notebook for use in R-studio. For the analysis you can either download the datasets used in Blokpoel et al.(under review) here or generate your own data by running a simulation.

Extending the simulation

To extend the simulation it is recommended first to follow the tutorials to get basic understanding of the implementation. Then follow the instructions for installing Java, Scala, Apache Spark and the IntelliJ IDE in the advanced readme here. You can checkout our source code and expand on it (instructions under advanced) or you can import the project as a library using the Scala Build Tool (sbt). Include the following lines to your```build.sbt`` file:

libraryDependencies += "com.markblokpoel" %% "lanag-core" % "0.3.6"

libraryDependencies += "com.markblokpoel" %% "lanag-ambiguityhelps" % "0.9.1"