A Common Protocol for Agent-Based Social Simulation

Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation, The (Impact Factor: 1.16). 01/2006; 9(1).
Source: RePEc


Traditional (i.e. analytical) modelling practices in the social sciences rely on a very well established, although implicit, methodological protocol, both with respect to the way models are presented and to the kinds of analysis that are performed. Unfortunately, computer-simulated models often lack such a reference to an accepted methodological standard. This is one of the main reasons for the scepticism among mainstream social scientists that results in low acceptance of papers with agent-based methodology in the top journals. We identify some methodological pitfalls that, according to us, are common in papers employing agent-based simulations, and propose appropriate solutions. We discuss each issue with reference to a general characterization of dynamic micro models, which encompasses both analytical and simulation models. In the way, we also clarify some confusing terminology. We then propose a three-stage process that could lead to the establishment of methodological standards in social and economic simulations.

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    • "Sensitivity analysis is part of a repertoire of verification (Law and Kelton, 1991) and validation techniques (Richiardi et al., 2006; Petty, 2010; Windrum et al., 2007). Sensitivity analysis is particularly useful as a validation technique for agent based models where it is not clear how the computer code will influence system behavior without running the model (Dancik et al., 2010; Bianchi et al., 2007). "
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