Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling has become the standard textbook on the subject for classroom use and self-instruction. Drawing on the latest version of NetLogo and fully updated with new examples, exercises, and an enhanced text for easier comprehension, this is the essential resource for anyone seeking to understand how the dynamics of biological, social, and other complex systems arise from the characteristics of the agents that make up these systems.
Steven Railsback and Volker Grimm lead students stepwise through the processes of designing, programming, documenting, and doing scientific research with agent-based models, focusing on the adaptive behaviors that make these models necessary. They cover the fundamentals of modeling and model analysis, introduce key modeling concepts, and demonstrate how to implement them using NetLogo. They also address pattern-oriented modeling, an invaluable strategy for modeling real-world problems and developing theory.
This accessible and authoritative book focuses on modeling as a tool for understanding real complex systems. It explains how to pose a specific question, use observations from actual systems to design models, write and test software, and more.
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 of theoretical ecology at the University of Potsdam.
Reviews of the first edition:
"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