A Generalizable Theory-Driven Agent-Based Framework to Study Conflict-Induced Forced Migration


  • Zakaria Mehrab University of Virginia
  • Logan Stundal University of Virginia
  • Srinivasan Venkatramanan University of Virginia
  • Samarth Swarup University of Virginia
  • Bryan Leroy Lewis University of Virginia
  • Henning S. Mortveit University of Virginia
  • Christopher L. Barrett University of Virginia
  • Abhishek Pandey Yale School of Public Health
  • Chad R. Wells Yale School of Public Health
  • Alison P. Galvani Yale School of Public Health
  • Burton H. Singer University of Florida
  • Seyed M. Moghadas York University
  • David Leblang University of Virginia
  • Rita R. Colwell University of Maryland
  • Madhav V. Marathe University of Virginia




Agents, Multidisciplinary Topics and Applications , Temporal and Geo/Spatial Reasoning , Synthetic Data , Track: Innovative Inter-disciplinary AI Integration


Large-scale population displacements arising from conflict-induced forced migration generate uncertainty and introduce several policy challenges. Addressing these concerns requires an interdisciplinary approach that integrates knowledge from both computational modeling and social sciences. We propose a generalized computational agent-based modeling framework grounded by Theory of Planned Behavior to model conflict-induced migration outflows within Ukraine during the start of that conflict in 2022. Existing migration modeling frameworks that attempt to address policy implications primarily focus on destination while leaving absent a generalized computational framework grounded by social theory focused on the conflict-induced region. We propose an agent-based framework utilizing a spatiotemporal gravity model and a Bi-threshold model over a Graph Dynamical System to update migration status of agents in conflict-induced regions at fine temporal and spatial granularity. This approach significantly outperforms previous work when examining the case of Russian invasion in Ukraine. Policy implications of the proposed framework are demonstrated by modeling the migration behavior of Ukrainian civilians attempting to flee from regions encircled by Russian forces. We also showcase the generalizability of the model by simulating a past conflict in Burundi, an alternative conflict setting. Results demonstrate the utility of the framework for assessing conflict-induced migration in varied settings as well as identifying vulnerable civilian populations.



How to Cite

Mehrab, Z., Stundal, L., Venkatramanan, S., Swarup, S., Lewis, B. L., Mortveit, H. S., Barrett, C. L., Pandey, A., Wells, C. R., Galvani, A. P., Singer, B. H., Moghadas, S. M., Leblang, D., Colwell, R. R., & Marathe, M. V. (2024). A Generalizable Theory-Driven Agent-Based Framework to Study Conflict-Induced Forced Migration. Proceedings of the AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence, 38(21), 23027-23033. https://doi.org/10.1609/aaai.v38i21.30345



IAAI Technical Track on Innovative Inter-disciplinary AI Integration