Bees at Work

The First Conference on Zero/Minimal Intelligence Agents

October 22-24, 2020

Sponsored by
Yale School of Management,
Cowles Foundation and
the Max Planck Institute for Human Development
Delivered online via Zoom

The Conference

Three Days of Scintillating Talks
October 22-24
Online via Zoom
09:00 am Eastern Time, NY, USA

Zero-intelligence (ZI) and Minimal-intelligence (MI) agents have provided valuable insights into how rules of engagement and institutional structures affect outcomes. This virtual conference is for sharing insights, findings, theories, applications, and tools regarding ZI and MI agents in the following areas and beyond:

  • Economics, Finance, and Business

  • Psychology, Sociology, Politics and Humanities

  • Computer Science, AI, and Machine Learning

  • Engineering, Automation, Telecommunications, and Information Systems and Control

  • Energy, Fuel, and Ecological Sciences

  • Mathematics, Statistical Physics, and Complexity

  • ZI/MI Software



  • Name of presenting coauthors are shown in bold below

  • Click on paper title to see abstract


8:30am-3:00pm (EDT New York, USA) Conference Lobby 

Introductory Remarks: Shyam Sunder, "A Minimalist Approach to Rational Order" (Video)

8:50am-9:00pm (EDT New York, USA) Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android:


Session 1: Zeroing in on Zero-Intelligence: Externalism, Automaticity and Opaqueness (Video)

(October 22, 2020, 9:00-10:30 EDT New York, USA)

Moderator: Dave Cliff

a) Enrico Petracca: Zero-intelligence in ‘externalist’ new institutional economics

b) Shaun Gallagher: Zero-intelligence and human automaticity at two extremes

c) Antonio Mastrogiorgio: Opaqueness as a mark of minimal-intelligence 

Session 2:  Trading with Zero/Minimal Intelligence (Video)

(October 22, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Daniel Ladley

a)  Dave Cliff: Extending Zero and Minimal Intelligence Trader Agents to Exhibit Size-Impact Effects 

b)  Barbara Ikica, Simon Jantschgi, Heinrich H. Nax, Diego G. Nuñez Duran, Bary S. R. Pradelski: Trading in a Black Box: Zero Intelligence and Lack of Knowledge 

c)  Fan Gao and Daniel Ladley: Endogenous network in OTC markets

Session 3: Panel Discussion on Structural Rationality (Video)

(October 22, 2020, 13:00-14:30 EDT New York, USA)
Moderator: Shyam Sunder

Panelists: J. Doyne Farmer, Gerd Gigerenzer, Charles R. Plott, Larry Samuelson


8:30am-3:00pm (EDT New York, USA) Conference Lobby

Session 4: Agent-based Computational Economics and ZI/MI Agents (Video)

(October 23, 2020, 9:00-10:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Friederike Wall

a)  Shu-Heng Chen: Less is More: Minimal Intelligence in the History of Cognitive Science

b)  Stephan Leitner and Friederike Wall: Micro- and Macro-Dynamics in Hidden-Action Relationships with Limited Information 

c)  Friederike Wall: Hill-Climbers or Satisficers? On the Intelligence of Managerial Search in Agent-based Models 

Session 5: Uncertainty and Experiments (Video)

(October 23, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Heinrich H. Nax

a)  Barbara Ikica, Peiran Jiao, Aidas Masiliūnas, and Heinrich Nax: From Skinner Box experiments to Black Box games: radical behaviorism for experimental game theory.  Presentation

b)  Michael Maier, Karim Jamal, and Shyam Sunder: Aggregation of Diverse Information with Double Auction Trading among Minimally-Intelligent Algorithmic Agents

c) Yuri Biondi and Iryna Veryzhenko: Sources of Properties of Security Market Pricing: Institutional Design and Agent Rationality. Presentation

Session 6: Algorithms and Markets (Video)

(October 23, 2020, 13:00-14:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Shabnam Mousavi

a)  Robert L. Axtell: A Comparison of Software Frameworks for Parallelization of Large-Scale ZI Trader Models.  Presentation

b)  Dave CliffMethodological Mess-ups in Modelling Markets with Minimal-Intelligence Agents

c)  Robin Nicole, Aleksandra Alorić , and Peter Sollich: Fragmentation in trader preferences among multiple markets: Market coexistence versus single market dominance 

 d) Edgardo Bucciarelli and Andrea OlivaNotes on algorithmic research, aggregations in economic theory, and the unilateralism of the induction principle  - paper to be submitted


8:30am-5:00pm (EDT New York, USA) Conference Lobby


Session 7: Aggregation Theory and Evidence (Video)

(October 24, 2020, 9:00-10:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Dan Gode

a)  Florian Artinger, Gerd Gigerenzer and Perke Jacobs: How Taxi Drivers Terminate Their Shifts when Earnings are Hard To Predict  

b)  Yuji Aruka, Yoshihiro Nakajima, and Naoki Mori: The Minimum Heterogeneous Agent Configuration to Realize the Future Price Time Series Similar to Any Given Spot Price Time Series in the AI Market Experiment

c)  D. K. Gode and Shyam Sunder: The Role of Extramarginal Demand and Supply in Markets


Session 8: Dynamic Models and Beauty Contest (Video)

(October 24, 2020, 11:00-12:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Rosemarie Nagel

a)  Kenneth Lomas and Dave Cliff: Exploring Narrative Economics: Integrating (Near-) Zero-Intelligence Trader-Agents with Opinion Dynamics Models 

b)  Jess Benhabib, Christoph Buehren, John Duffy and Rosemarie Nagel: How to Harness Zero Intelligence in Experimental Beauty Contest Games

c)  Mauro Gallegati and Simone LandiniWhat about equilibrium and complexity when economic agents do not think? A finitistic-arithmetic description 

Session 9:  Market Networks without Intention (Video) 

(October 24, 2020, 13:00-14:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Shabnam Mousavi

a)  Shabnam Mousavi and Shyam Sunder: MarketNet: Exploring Rationality of Structures

b)  Paul Brewer: Introduction and Overview of the Econ1.Net Robot Trading Laboratory

c)  Sanjeev Kumar and Shyam Sunder: Self, Mind and Social Institutions as Complex Emergent Phenomena sans Intention

Session 10: Properties of Market Institutions (Video)

(October 24, 2020, 15:00-16:30 EDT New York, USA) 

Moderator: Elena Asparouhova

a)  Bulent Guler, Volodymyr Lugovskyy, Daniela Puzzello and Steven Tucker: Trading Institutions in Experimental Asset Markets: Theory and Evidence

b)  Abhijeet Anand, Peter Bossaerts, Shijei Huang, Max Hunt, Robert Woods, Nitin Yadav: How Trade Can Cause Heavy-Tailed Prices in an Economy With Gaussian Fundamentals

c)   Elena Asparouhova, Dylan Finlayson, Debrah Meloso, Jan Nielsen, Christine Parlour, Gus Stevens, Wenhao Yang:  Algorithms and the CAPM

Closing Remarks (same Zoom link as Session 10 above)

16:30-16:45 EDT New York, USA

The Best Student Paper Award of the Conference was given to Kenneth Lomas for his jointly written paper, “Exploring Narrative Economics: Integrating (Near-) Zero-Intelligence Trader-Agents with Opinion Dynamics Models 









We are proud to have inspirational speakers from across the globe...


165 Whitney Avenue

New Haven CT 06511

Tel: +1(203)436-5798


  • White Facebook Icon
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White Instagram Icon

© 2020 by Yale School of Management.