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(8 articles matched your search)

Using the ODD Protocol for Describing Three Agent-Based Social Simulation Models of Land-Use Change

J. Gareth Polhill, Dawn C. Parker, Daniel Brown and Volker Grimm
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 11 (2) 3

Abstract: This article describes three agent-based social simulation models in the area of land-use change using a model documentation protocol, ODD, from the ecological literature. Our goal is to evaluate how well fitted it is to social simulations and how successful it might be in increasing communication between individual- and agent-based modellers. Such shared protocols can facilitate model review, comparison, and replication. We initially conclude that the framework holds promise as a standard communication mechanism, although some refinements may be needed.

Agent-Based Modelling: Tools for Linking NetLogo and r

Jan C. Thiele, Winfried Kurth and Volker Grimm
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 15 (3) 8

Abstract: A seamless integration of software platforms for implementing agent-based models and for analysing their output would facilitate comprehensive model analyses and thereby make agent-based modelling more useful. Here we report on recently developed tools for linking two widely used software platforms: NetLogo for implementing agent-based models, and R for the statistical analysis and design of experiments. Embedding R into NetLogo allows the use of advanced statistical analyses, specific statistical distributions, and advanced tools for visualization from within NetLogo programs. Embedding NetLogo into R makes it possible to design simulation experiments and all settings for analysing model output from the outset, using R, and then embed NetLogo programs in this virtual laboratory. Our linking tools have the potential to significantly advance research based on agent-based modelling.

Improving Execution Speed of Models Implemented in NetLogo

Steven F. Railsback, Daniel Ayllón, Uta Berger, Volker Grimm, Steven Lytinen, Colin Sheppard and Jan Thiele
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 20 (1) 3

Abstract: NetLogo has become a standard platform for agent-based simulation, yet there appears to be widespread belief that it is not suitable for large and complex models due to slow execution. Our experience does not support that belief. NetLogo programs often do run very slowly when written to minimize code length and maximize clarity, but relatively simple and easily tested changes can almost always produce major increases in execution speed. We recommend a five-step process for quantifying execution speed, identifying slow parts of code, and writing faster code. Avoiding or improving agent filtering statements can often produce dramatic speed improvements. For models with extensive initialization methods, reorganizing the setup procedure can reduce the initialization effort in simulation experiments. Programming the same behavior in a different way can sometimes provide order-of-magnitude speed increases. For models in which most agents do nothing on most time steps, discrete event simulation—facilitated by the time extension to NetLogo—can dramatically increase speed. NetLogo’s BehaviorSpace tool makes it very easy to conduct multiple-model-run experiments in parallel on either desktop or high performance cluster computers, so even quite slow models can be executed thousands of times. NetLogo also is supported by efficient analysis tools, such as BehaviorSearch and RNetLogo, that can reduce the number of model runs and the effort to set them up for (e.g.) parameterization and sensitivity analysis.

Agent-Based Modelling of Social-Ecological Systems: Achievements, Challenges, and a Way Forward

Jule Thober, Birgit Müller, Jürgen Groeneveld and Volker Grimm
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 20 (2) 8

Abstract: Understanding social-ecological systems (SES) is crucial to supporting the sustainable management of resources. Agent-based modelling is a valuable tool to achieve this because it can represent the behaviour and interactions of organisms, human actors and institutions. Agent-based models (ABMs) have therefore already been widely used to study SES. However, ABMs of SES are by their very nature complex. They are therefore difficult to parameterize and analyse, which can limit their usefulness. It is time to critically reflect upon the current state-of-the-art to evaluate to what degree the potential of agent-based modelling for gaining general insights and supporting specific decision-making has already been utilized. We reviewed achievements and challenges by building upon developments in good modelling practice in the field of ecological modelling with its longer history. As a reference, we used the TRACE framework, which encompasses elements of model development, testing and analysis. We firstly reviewed achievements and challenges with regard to the elements of the TRACE framework addressed in reviews and method papers of social-ecological ABMs. Secondly, in a mini-review, we evaluated whether and to what degree the elements of the TRACE framework were addressed in publications on specific ABMs. We identified substantial gaps with regard to (1) communicating whether the models represented real systems well enough for their intended purpose and (2) analysing the models in a systematic and transparent way so that model output is not only observed but also understood. To fill these gaps, a joint effort of the modelling community is needed to foster the advancement and use of strategies such as participatory approaches, standard protocols for communication, sharing of source code, and tools and strategies for model design and analysis. Throughout our analyses, we provide specific recommendations and references for improving the state-of-the-art. We thereby hope to contribute to the establishment of a new advanced culture of agent-based modelling of SES that will allow us to better develop general theory and practical solutions.

Different Modelling Purposes

Bruce Edmonds, Christophe Le Page, Mike Bithell, Edmund Chattoe-Brown, Volker Grimm, Ruth Meyer, Cristina Montañola-Sales, Paul Ormerod, Hilton Root and Flaminio Squazzoni
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 22 (3) 6

Abstract: How one builds, checks, validates and interprets a model depends on its ‘purpose’. This is true even if the same model code is used for different purposes. This means that a model built for one purpose but then used for another needs to be re-justified for the new purpose and this will probably mean it also has to be re-checked, re-validated and maybe even re-built in a different way. Here we review some of the different purposes for a simulation model of complex social phenomena, focusing on seven in particular: prediction, explanation, description, theoretical exploration, illustration, analogy, and social interaction. The paper looks at some of the implications in terms of the ways in which the intended purpose might fail. This analysis motivates some of the ways in which these ‘dangers’ might be avoided or mitigated. It also looks at the ways that a confusion of modelling purposes can fatally weaken modelling projects, whilst giving a false sense of their quality. These distinctions clarify some previous debates as to the best modelling strategy (e.g. KISS and KIDS). The paper ends with a plea for modellers to be clear concerning which purpose they are justifying their model against.

Editorial: Meeting Grand Challenges in Agent-Based Models

Li An, Volker Grimm and Billie L. Turner II
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 23 (1) 13

Abstract: This editorial paper reviews the state of the science about agent-based modeling (ABM), pointing out the strengths and weaknesses of ABM. This paper also highlights several impending tasks that warrant special attention in order to improve the science and application of ABM: Modeling human decisions, ABM transparency and reusability, validation of ABM, ABM software and big data ABM, and ABM theories. Six innovative papers that are included in the special issue are summarized, and their connections to the ABM impending tasks are brought to attention. The authors hope that this special issue will help prioritize specific resources and activities in relation to ABM advances, leading to coordinated, joint efforts and initiatives to advance the science and technology behind ABM.

‘One Size Does Not Fit All’: A Roadmap of Purpose-Driven Mixed-Method Pathways for Sensitivity Analysis of Agent-Based Models

Arika Ligmann-Zielinska, Peer-Olaf Siebers, Nicholas Magliocca, Dawn C. Parker, Volker Grimm, Jing Du, Martin Cenek, Viktoriia Radchuk, Nazia N. Arbab, Sheng Li, Uta Berger, Rajiv Paudel, Derek T. Robinson, Piotr Jankowski, Li An and Xinyue Ye
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 23 (1) 6

Abstract: Designing, implementing, and applying agent-based models (ABMs) requires a structured approach, part of which is a comprehensive analysis of the output to input variability in the form of uncertainty and sensitivity analysis (SA). The objective of this paper is to assist in choosing, for a given ABM, the most appropriate methods of SA. We argue that no single SA method fits all ABMs and that different methods of SA should be used based on the overarching purpose of the model. For example, abstract exploratory models that focus on a deeper understanding of the target system and its properties are fed with only the most critical data representing patterns or stylized facts. For them, simple SA methods may be sufficient in capturing the dependencies between the output-input spaces. In contrast, applied models used in scenario and policy-analysis are usually more complex and data-rich because a higher level of realism is required. Here the choice of a more sophisticated SA may be critical in establishing the robustness of the results before the model (or its results) can be passed on to end-users. Accordingly, we present a roadmap that guides ABM developers through the process of performing SA that best fits the purpose of their ABM. This roadmap covers a wide range of ABM applications and advocates for the routine use of global methods that capture input interactions and are, therefore, mandatory if scientists want to recognize all sensitivities. As part of this roadmap, we report on frontier SA methods emerging in recent years: a) handling temporal and spatial outputs, b) using the whole output distribution of a result rather than its variance, c) looking at topological relationships between input data points rather than their values, and d) looking into the ABM black box – finding behavioral primitives and using them to study complex system characteristics like regime shifts, tipping points, and condensation versus dissipation of collective system behavior.

The ODD Protocol for Describing Agent-Based and Other Simulation Models: A Second Update to Improve Clarity, Replication, and Structural Realism

Volker Grimm, Steven F. Railsback, Christian E. Vincenot, Uta Berger, Cara Gallagher, Donald L. DeAngelis, Bruce Edmonds, Jiaqi Ge, Jarl Giske, Jürgen Groeneveld, Alice S.A. Johnston, Alexander Milles, Jacob Nabe-Nielsen, J. Gareth Polhill, Viktoriia Radchuk, Marie-Sophie Rohwäder, Richard A. Stillman, Jan C. Thiele and Daniel Ayllón
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 23 (2) 7

Abstract: The Overview, Design concepts and Details (ODD) protocol for describing Individual- and Agent-Based Models (ABMs) is now widely accepted and used to document such models in journal articles. As a standardized document for providing a consistent, logical and readable account of the structure and dynamics of ABMs, some research groups also find it useful as a workflow for model design. Even so, there are still limitations to ODD that obstruct its more widespread adoption. Such limitations are discussed and addressed in this paper: the limited availability of guidance on how to use ODD; the length of ODD documents; limitations of ODD for highly complex models; lack of sufficient details of many ODDs to enable reimplementation without access to the model code; and the lack of provision for sections in the document structure covering model design rationale, the model’s underlying narrative, and the means by which the model’s fitness for purpose is evaluated. We document the steps we have taken to provide better guidance on: structuring complex ODDs and an ODD summary for inclusion in a journal article (with full details in supplementary material; Table 1); using ODD to point readers to relevant sections of the model code; update the document structure to include sections on model rationale and evaluation. We also further advocate the need for standard descriptions of simulation experiments and argue that ODD can in principle be used for any type of simulation model. Thereby ODD would provide a lingua franca for simulation modelling.