How to Do Agent-Based Simulations in the Future: From Modeling Social Mechanisms to Emergent Phenomena and Interactive Systems Design

Chapter "Agent-Based Modeling" of the book "Social Self-Organization" by Dirk Helbing (Springer, Berlin, 2012), pp. 25-70.

55 Pages Posted: 15 Oct 2013  

Dirk Helbing

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS)

Stefano Balietti

ETH Zurich

Date Written: October 13, 2013

Abstract

Since the advent of computers, the natural and engineering sciences have enormously progressed. Computer simulations allow one to understand interactions of physical particles and make sense of astronomical observations, to describe many chemical properties ab initio, and to design energy-efficient aircrafts and safer cars. Today, the use of computational devices is pervasive. Offices, administrations, financial trading, economic exchange, the control of infrastructure networks, and a large share of our communication would not be conceivable without the use of computers anymore. Hence, it would be very surprising, if computers could not make a contribution to a better understanding of social and economic systems. While relevant also for the statistical analysis of data and data-driven efforts to reveal patterns of human interaction, we will focus here on the prospects of computer simulation of social and economic systems. More specifically, we will discuss the techniques of agent-based modeling (ABM) and multi-agent simulation (MAS), including the challenges, perspectives and limitations of the approach. In doing so, we will discuss a number of issues, which have not been covered by the excellent books and review papers available so far . In particular, we will describe the different steps belonging to a thorough agent-based simulation study, and try to explain, how to do them right from a scientific perspective. To some extent, computer simulation can be seen as experimental technique for hypothesis testing and scenario analysis, which can be used complementary and in combination with experiments in real-life, the lab or the Web.

Keywords: agent-based modeling, multi-agent simulation, systems design, data-driven models, virtual worlds, serious games, augmented reality

Suggested Citation

Helbing, Dirk and Balietti, Stefano, How to Do Agent-Based Simulations in the Future: From Modeling Social Mechanisms to Emergent Phenomena and Interactive Systems Design (October 13, 2013). Chapter "Agent-Based Modeling" of the book "Social Self-Organization" by Dirk Helbing (Springer, Berlin, 2012), pp. 25-70.. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2339770

Dirk Helbing (Contact Author)

ETH Zürich - Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (GESS) ( email )

ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology
Clausiusstrasse 50
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

HOME PAGE: http://www.coss.ethz.ch

Stefano Balietti

ETH Zurich ( email )

CER-ETH Center of Economic Research at ETH Zurich
ZUE F7
Zurich, 8092
Switzerland

Paper statistics

Downloads
237
Rank
104,815
Abstract Views
904