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Principles and Concepts of Agent-Based Modelling for Developing Geospatial Simulations

Castle, CJE; Crooks, AT; (2006) Principles and Concepts of Agent-Based Modelling for Developing Geospatial Simulations. (CASA Working Papers 110). Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL), UCL (University College London), Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis (UCL): London, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

The aim of this paper is to outline fundamental concepts and principles of the Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) paradigm, with particular reference to the development of geospatial simulations. The paper begins with a brief definition of modelling, followed by a classification of model types, and a comment regarding a shift (in certain circumstances) towards modelling systems at the individual-level. In particular, automata approaches (e.g. Cellular Automata, CA, and ABM) have been particularly popular, with ABM moving to the fore. A definition of agents and agent-based models is given; identifying their advantages and disadvantages, especially in relation to geospatial modelling. The potential use of agent-based models is discussed, and how-to instructions for developing an agent-based model are provided. Types of simulation / modelling systems available for ABM are defined, supplemented with criteria to consider before choosing a particular system for a modelling endeavour. Information pertaining to a selection of simulation / modelling systems (Swarm, MASON, Repast, StarLogo, NetLogo, OBEUS, AgentSheets and AnyLogic) is provided, categorised by their licensing policy (open source, shareware / freeware and proprietary systems). The evaluation (i.e. verification, calibration, validation and analysis) of agent-based models and their output is examined, and noteworthy applications are discussed.Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are a particularly useful medium for representing model input and output of a geospatial nature. However, GIS are not well suited to dynamic modelling (e.g. ABM). In particular, problems of representing time and change within GIS are highlighted. Consequently, this paper explores the opportunity of linking (through coupling or integration / embedding) a GIS with a simulation / modelling system purposely built, and therefore better suited to supporting the requirements of ABM. This paper concludes with a synthesis of the discussion that has proceeded. The aim of this paper is to outline fundamental concepts and principles of the Agent-Based Modelling (ABM) paradigm, with particular reference to the development of geospatial simulations. The paper begins with a brief definition of modelling, followed by a classification of model types, and a comment regarding a shift (in certain circumstances) towards modelling systems at the individual-level. In particular, automata approaches (e.g. Cellular Automata, CA, and ABM) have been particularly popular, with ABM moving to the fore. A definition of agents and agent-based models is given; identifying their advantages and disadvantages, especially in relation to geospatial modelling. The potential use of agent-based models is discussed, and how-to instructions for developing an agent-based model are provided. Types of simulation / modelling systems available for ABM are defined, supplemented with criteria to consider before choosing a particular system for a modelling endeavour. Information pertaining to a selection of simulation / modelling systems (Swarm, MASON, Repast, StarLogo, NetLogo, OBEUS, AgentSheets and AnyLogic) is provided, categorised by their licensing policy (open source, shareware / freeware and proprietary systems). The evaluation (i.e. verification, calibration, validation and analysis) of agent-based models and their output is examined, and noteworthy applications are discussed.Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are a particularly useful medium for representing model input and output of a geospatial nature. However, GIS are not well suited to dynamic modelling (e.g. ABM). In particular, problems of representing time and change within GIS are highlighted. Consequently, this paper explores the opportunity of linking (through coupling or integration / embedding) a GIS with a simulation / modelling system purposely built, and therefore better suited to supporting the requirements of ABM. This paper concludes with a synthesis of the discussion that has proceeded.

Type: Working / discussion paper
Title: Principles and Concepts of Agent-Based Modelling for Developing Geospatial Simulations
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Additional information: Imported via OAI, 7:29:01 16th May 2007
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment > Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/3342
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