Agent Based Modeling

Agent-based modelling is computer simulation in its own right and tries to tackle modelling problems beyond the capacities of classical mathematics. It is based on the object-oriented programming paradigm in computer science. The article discusses the advantages (and some shortcomings) of this approach.

Agent-based modelling maps real-world entities, their properties and their behaviour on to objects of programming languages, their instance variables (attributes) and their methods ("ontological correspondence" [Gilbert 2008:14). Agent-based modelling proper endows its agent objects with at least several of the following ingredients (ibd.21):

  • autonomy
  • social ability
  • reactivity
  • proactivity

The great advantage lies in the ontological correspondence, among the few shortcomings is the high number of runs necessary to allow assumptions about the nature of emergent phenomena arising from the interactions of a large number of agents.


Nigle Gilbert (2008): Agent-Based Models. Los Angeles: Sage (Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences 153)

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