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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. The book 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.The first hands-on introduction to agent-based modeling, from conceptual design to computer implementation to parameterization and analysis Filled with examples and exercises, with updates and supplementary materials at http://www.railsback-grimm-abm-book.com Designed for students and researchers across the biological and social sciences Written by leading practitionersLeading universities that have adopted this book include: Amherst CollegeBrigham Young UniversityCarnegie Mellon UniversityMiami UniversityNorthwestern UniversityOld Dominion UniversityPortland State UniversityRhodes CollegeSusquehanna UniversityUniversity College, DublinUniversity of ArizonaUniversity of South FloridaUniversity of Virginia
Individual-based models are an exciting and widely used new tool for ecology. These computational models allow scientists to explore the mechanisms through which population and ecosystem ecology arises from how individuals interact with each other and their environment. This book provides the first in-depth treatment of individual-based modeling and its use to develop theoretical understanding of how ecological systems work, an approach the authors call "individual-based ecology." Grimm and Railsback start with a general primer on modeling: how to design models that are as simple as possible while still allowing specific problems to be solved, and how to move efficiently through a cycle of pattern-oriented model design, implementation, and analysis. Next, they address the problems of theory and conceptual framework for individual-based ecology: What is "theory"? That is, how do we develop reusable models of how system dynamics arise from characteristics of individuals? What conceptual framework do we use when the classical differential equation framework no longer applies? An extensive review illustrates the ecological problems that have been addressed with individual-based models. The authors then identify how the mechanics of building and using individual-based models differ from those of traditional science, and provide guidance on formulating, programming, and analyzing models. This book will be helpful to ecologists interested in modeling, and to other scientists interested in agent-based modeling.
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