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UML for ABM

Hugues Bersini
Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation 15 (1) 9

Abstract: Although the majority of researchers interested in ABM increasingly agree that the most natural way to program their models is to adopt OO practices, UML diagrams are still largely absent from their publications. In the last 15 years, the use of UML has risen constantly, to the point where UML has become the de facto standard for graphical visualization of software development. UML and its 13 diagrams has many universally accepted virtues. Most importantly, UML provides a level of abstraction higher than that offered by OO programming languages (Java, C++, Python, .Net ...). This abstraction layer encourages researchers to spend more time on modeling rather than on programming. This paper initially presents the four most common UML diagrams - class, sequence, state and activity diagrams (based on my personal experience, these are the most useful diagrams for ABM development). The most important features of these diagrams are discussed, and explanations based on conceptual pieces often found in ABM models are given of how best to use the diagrams. Subsequently, some very well known and classical ABM models such as the Schelling segregation model, the spatial evolutionary game, and a continuous double action free market are subjected to more detailed UML analysis.