Bu Research Chronicle Research Training course on agent-based modelling techniques

Training course on agent-based modelling techniques

Have you ever heard of agent based models, and wondered what they are? Have you perhaps been dazzled by computer simulations of flocking birds or shoals of fish, and wondered how they are produced? Or perhaps you enjoy computer games involving interacting individuals, such as the magnificent Fifa13. If so, you might be interested in a training course that we are hosting later this year, supported by the Fusion Fund.

Agent-based models (ABM) can be described as a type of computational model that are used for simulating the actions and interactions of autonomous “agents”. These can be either individuals, such as people or animals, or collective entities such as businesses or other types of organization. The models enable the behaviour of such agents to be explored in relation to the behaviour of the system as a whole. The approach is relevant to areas such as game theory, complex systems, computational sociology, multi-agent systems, and evolutionary programming. They are relevant to a wide range of research domains including ecological and social sciences, and enable the study of how simple behavioural rules can generate complex behaviour. They provide a very useful method for supporting interdisciplinary collaboration.

The course will be led by leading practitioners of this rapidly developing technique, and will focus on the use of Netlogo (http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/). This is an open source software environment, which is both powerful and user friendly, enabling attractive graphical output to be generated readily. The course is open to both staff and postgraduate students who are interested in learning the technique. While the course will be introductory, it is principally aimed at researchers who already have some experience in modelling, or who can see a direct potential application of this method to their own research. Please contact me for further information – Adrian Newton anewton@bournemouth.ac.uk