Friday, November 20, 2015

Agent-Based Modeling Class

Please consider taking my ABM class in the Spring 2016 Semester

What is ABM? Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a growing technology that is finding application in many areas from environmental chemistry to microbial ecology to transportation engineering to social sciences and business. It is a "systems" or "bottom-up" approach for understanding how complex systems behave. Individual low-level elements of the system (e.g. bacteria, cars) are simulated and the system-level behavior (e.g. population density, traffic congestion) emerges as a result of the cumulative action and interaction of these low-level entities. This is different from the traditional "top-down" approach where system-level state variables are modified directly using differential equations.

Course overview. The course is geared towards a multi-disciplinary audience, and open to students from engineering, environmental science, biology and chemistry, sociology, business and others. Topics include introduction and motivation of ABM, basic principles, comparison to other methods (e.g. cellular automata, individual-based modeling), available software, computational strategies (e.g. up-scaling, agent accounting), model development, model calibration and testing, and model application.  A number of case studies from the literature in various disciplines will be reviewed and discussed. A major part of the course will be a hands-on term project. Students are encouraged to explore the use of ABM for their own research interests for the term project. The project will be implemented using the NetLogo ABM framework. NetLogo models can be served as Java Applets on the Internet and the students will be required to submit their final papers as web pages, which will be published on the course web page. The text will be "Agent-based and Individual-based Modeling: A Practical Introduction" by Grimm and Railsback (2011).