Computation and simulation of evolutionary game dynamics in finite populations

Laura Hindersin, Bin Wu, Arne Traulsen, Julian García

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


The study of evolutionary dynamics increasingly relies on computational methods, as more and more cases outside the range of analytical tractability are explored. The computational methods for simulation and numerical approximation of the relevant quantities are diverging without being compared for accuracy and performance. We thoroughly investigate these algorithms in order to propose a reliable standard. For expositional clarity we focus on symmetric 2 × 2 games leading to one-dimensional processes, noting that extensions can be straightforward and lessons will often carry over to more complex cases. We provide time-complexity analysis and systematically compare three families of methods to compute fixation probabilities, fixation times and long-term stationary distributions for the popular Moran process. We provide efficient implementations that substantially improve wall times over naive or immediate implementations. Implications are also discussed for the Wright-Fisher process, as well as structured populations and multiple types.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6946
Number of pages21
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 May 2019

Cite this