Books  Ecological & Biological Sciences  Data Analysis & Modelling  Data Analysis & Statistics 

Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling: A Practical Introduction


By: Steven F Railsback(Author), Volker Grimm(Author)

329 pages, 67 b/w illustrations, 6 tables

Princeton University Press

Paperback | Nov 2011 | #195294 | ISBN-13: 9780691136745
Availability: Usually dispatched within 48 hours
NHBS Price: £46.99 $61/€52 approx
Hardback | Nov 2011 | #195295 | ISBN-13: 9780691136738
Availability: Usually dispatched within 4 days Details
NHBS Price: £92.99 $122/€104 approx

About this book

Agent-based modeling is a new technique for understanding how the dynamics of biological, social, and other complex systems arise from the characteristics and behaviors of the agents making up these systems. This innovative textbook gives students and scientists the skills to design, implement, and analyze agent-based models. It starts with the fundamentals of modeling and provides an introduction to NetLogo, an easy-to-use, free, and powerful software platform. Nine chapters then each introduce an important modeling concept and show how to implement it using NetLogo. Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling goes on to present strategies for finding the right level of model complexity and developing theory for agent behavior, and for analyzing and learning from models.

Agent-based and individual-based modeling features concise and accessible text, numerous examples, and exercises using small but scientific models. The emphasis throughout is on analysis – such as software testing, theory development, robustness analysis, and understanding full models – and on design issues like optimizing model structure and finding good parameter values.

"Biologists [...] have been relatively slow to take advantage of enhanced computing power and unlock the potential of these techniques. This book removes any excuse. Based on a course run by the authors, who both come from an ecological background, and building on an earlier, more conceptual book, this aims to provide the necessary tools to students and researchers."
Frontiers of Biogeography

"This volume would be an excellent text for an introductory course in modeling as science, or for self-study by a mature researcher interested in learning about this important new way of doing science."
– H. Van Dyke Parunak, JASSS

"This book represents something I have been waiting for some years now: a good and solid introduction to the field of individual- and agent-based models (hereafter IBM/ABM's). This book fulfills my needs, using a mix of theory and practical examples which seems to suit the topic well [...] [T]he book is not only a practical guide but also serves as a good introduction to the basics of 'healthy' programming. These authors are the right ones to do this as they have a strong background in the philosophical aspects as well as the practical issues of modeling."
Basic and Applied Ecology

"Railsback and Grimm have done the heavy lifting required to establish a solid IBM course by providing a carefully crafted inquiry-based curriculum. This accomplishment removes a major impediment to the proliferation of IBM courses. Although the book seems aimed at a graduate-level course, I also do not see why an ambitious teacher with motivated students could not use this textbook as the basis of an upper-level undergraduate course in individual based modeling. Agent-based and individual-based modeling has the potential to foster an appreciation of the value and place of individual-based models in our field in the next generation of emerging ecologists (who already have computational leanings)."
– Christopher X. Jon Jensen, Ecology

"Knitting together ecology, economics, and social systems, this wonderful book will encourage and enlighten novices and experienced modelers alike. It highlights the importance of patterns at every level of the modeling process, the need for clear explication of assumptions, and the benefits of models composed of discrete entities (agents) which interact, evolve, and mimic reality."
– Louis Gross, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

"Railsback and Grimm provide a needed book on how to develop, code, and analyze agent-based models. They so expertly explain the art and science of modeling that even the most modeling-shy beginner will master the skills. Readers will also gain a deep understanding of the increasing importance of agent-based models for interpreting the patterns of nature and human society."
– Donald L. DeAngelis, U.S. Geological Survey

"Railsback and Grimm have written a superb introduction to agent-based models. They combine hands-on programming exercises, introductions to some of the core concepts in complex systems, and instruction in model design and analysis. The result is an excellent book that's ideal for both undergraduates and academics."
– Scott E. Page, author of Diversity and Complexity

"This exceptional book offers a systematic introduction to the scientific use of agent-based modeling, including the implementation, testing, and validation of models. Until now there was no good textbook available to teach students the theory and practice of agent-based modeling. Railsback and Grimm provide such a text, one that will likely become a classic in the field."
– Marco A. Janssen, Arizona State University

"This book is an invaluable guide to agent-based modeling. A significant contribution to the field, it will train the next generation of modelers and teach best practices to existing modelers. Railsback and Grimm have in-depth expertise and experience in developing and teaching agent-based modeling, and are well qualified to write such a book."
– Richard Stillman, Bournemouth University

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Preface xi
Acknowledgments xvii

Part I: Agent-Based Modeling and NetLogo Basics 1
Chapter 1: Models, Agent-Based Models, and the Modeling Cycle 3
Chapter 2: Getting Started with NetLogo 15
Chapter 3: Describing and Formulating ABMs: The ODD Protocol 35
Chapter 4: Implementing a First Agent-Based Model 47
Chapter 5: From Animations to Science 61
Chapter 6: Testing Your Program 75

Part II: Model Design Concepts 95
Chapter 7: Introduction to Part II 97
Chapter 8: Emergence 101
Chapter 9: Observation 115
Chapter 10: Sensing 127
Chapter 11: Adaptive Behavior and Objectives 143
Chapter 12: Prediction 157
Chapter 13: Interaction 169
Chapter 14: Scheduling 183
Chapter 15: Stochasticity 195
Chapter 16: Collectives 209

Part III: Pattern-Oriented Modeling 225
Chapter 17: Introduction to Part III 227
Chapter 18: Patterns for Model Structure 233
Chapter 19: Theory Development 243
Chapter 20: Parameterization and Calibration 255

Part IV: Model Analysis 271
Chapter 21: Introduction to Part IV 273
Chapter 22: Analyzing and Understanding ABMs 277
Chapter 23: Sensitivity, Uncertainty, and Robustness Analysis 291
Chapter 24: Where to Go from Here 309

References 317
Index 323
Index of Programming Notes 329

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Steven F. Railsback is adjunct professor of mathematics at Humboldt State University and a consulting environmental scientist.

Volker Grimm is senior scientist in the Department of Ecological Modeling at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ in Leipzig and professor at the University of Potsdam. They are the authors of Individual-Based Modeling and Ecology.

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