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Replication Materials for “The simulation manifesto: The limits of brute-force empiricism in geopolitical forecasting”

The replication materials in the zip download below include the model snapshot*, model script**, output data, R scripts, and output visuals*** used for the 2013 Bangladesh election analysis in “The simulation manifesto” (Lustick and Tetlock). That paper illustrates how the Virtual Strategic Analysis and Forecasting Tool (VSAFT), a sophisticated agent-based modeling platform for conducting disciplined thought experiments on virtualized political systems, offered support to the U.S. government in crafting policies toward Bangladesh in the summer of 2013. This was one of a variety of similar projects, conducted over the last two and a half decades, designed to map the state space of possibilities in complex policy domains. For each problem, researchers simulated possible futures and possible pasts to generate a systematic outside-view, a perspective from which the actual world that did occur, or would occur, could be treated as a sample from a large distribution of possible trajectories. We offer suggestions for accelerating the development and application of theory-guided simulation techniques.

  • *Note 1: To view the snapshot, the PS-I Software is required. It can be downloaded for Windows and Linux here:
  • **Note 2: The model script can be used to understand the mechanics of a model run, but because the model was run within a larger experimentation system, the exact results cannot be replicated without additional infrastructure.*
  • ***Note 3: The “largest incumbent groups” visuals can not be replicated using the code provided, however the raw data does contain the necessary information to do so.

For more information on replication materials, please contact Ian Lustick ( and Miguel Garces (

Download Here