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The settlement of Polynesia : a computer simulation

CollectionsANU Press (1965- Present)
Title: The settlement of Polynesia : a computer simulation
Author(s): Levison, Michael
Date published: 1973
Publisher: Canberra, ACT : Australian National University Press
Description: 
For two centuries people have argued about how the multitudinous islands of Polynesia, flung over some twelve million square miles of ocean and separated by hundreds of miles from the nearest continental coasts, came to be discovered and settled by a single people at a time when navigators of the "civilized" world scarcely ventured willingly beyond the sight of land. Much writing and research have focused attention on the subject in recent years. Now, in a new approach to the question, the authors of this volume report on their use of computer techniques to provide new answers to some of the problems that are central to the controversy. The research project they report upon is of two-fold interest - first, for the light it throws on the riddle of the settlement of Polynesia, and, second, as an innovative demonstration of how computer technology may be applied to a wide variety of research in the social and physical sciences. The authors devised a computer program which simulated Pacific voyaging in its many aspects and variations. Data about winds, currents, islands, and many other pertinent matters were incorporated in the program. Using this model they conducted experiments which showed the outcomes of hypothetical voyages representing many possible variations which real voyages might embrace. The authors describe the experiments and discuss the results and conclusions, illustrating them with numerous maps and cartograms. Computer-drawn maps are included in an appendix. Michael Levison is a member of the department of computer science at Queen{u2019}s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada, R. Gerard Ward is a professor of human geography at the Australian National University, Canberra, and John W. Webb is a professor of geography and associate dean for social sciences at the University of Minnesota.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1885/114825

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