A Common Protocol for Agent-Based Social Simulation

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

ABSTRACT 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.

1 Bookmark
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Effective management of natural resources requires understanding both the dynamics of the natural systems being subjected to management and the decision-making behaviour of stakeholders who are involved in the management process. We suggest that simulation modelling techniques can provide a powerful method platform for the transdisciplinary integration of ecological, economic and sociological aspects that is needed for exploring the likely outcomes of different management approaches and options. A concise review of existing literature on ecological and socio-economic modelling and approaches at the interface of these fields is presented followed by a framework coupling an individual-based ecological model with an agent-based socio-economic model. In this framework, each individual of the species of interest is represented on a spatially-explicit landscape, allowing the incorporation of individual variability. The socio-economic model also simulates inter-agent variability through the assignment of different attitudes and decision-making options for different agents; these may represent farmers, estate managers, policy-makers, the general public and/or other stakeholders. This structure enables variation in attitudes and circumstances of individual stakeholders, together with interactions between stakeholders, to be simulated. We discuss strengths and limitations of such an approach, and the information requirements for building a robust model to inform a real management situation.
    iEMSs 2012 - Managing Resources of a Limited Planet; 07/2012
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A major challenge in agent-based modelling is the management of the process to generate executable simulations from the initial conceptual models. This process is complex and usually involves several roles, which may raise communication problems due to the diverse backgrounds and perspectives of participants and the use of non-explicit knowledge. This situation demands a clear separation and precise definition of the multiple aspects of the process, in order to facilitate their understanding, grasp their relationships and develop them. This paper addresses this goal with a fine-step refinement process for information based on the use of domain-specific languages. It considers analysis contexts that include a particular theoretical framework, domain, type of problem and target platform. For a given context, the process formally defines modelling languages conceptually close to the different aspects relevant to it. It also defines mappings between concepts in those languages. Researchers develop simulations by specifying models with the languages, and share and refine information by using mappings between these models. This infrastructure provides guidance throughout the process and makes the information involved explicit. A case study of continuous double auctions illustrates the approach.
    Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory 03/2012; 18(1):91-112. · 0.42 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Individual-based modeling is a growing technique in the HIV transmission and prevention literature, but insufficient attention has been paid to formally evaluate the quality of reporting in this field. We present reporting recommendations for individual-based models for HIV treatment and prevention, assess the quality of reporting in the existing literature, and comment on the contribution of this model type to HIV policy and prediction. We developed reporting recommendations for individual-based HIV transmission mathematical models, and through a systematic search, used them to evaluate the reporting in the existing literature. We identified papers that employed individual-based simulation models and were published in English prior to December 31, 2012. Articles were included if the models they employed simulated and tracked individuals, simulated HIV transmission between individuals in a particular population, and considered a particular treatment or prevention intervention. The papers were assessed with the reporting recommendations. Of 214 full text articles examined, 32 were included in the evaluation, representing 20 independent individual-based HIV treatment and prevention mathematical models. Manuscripts universally reported the objectives, context, and modeling conclusions in the context of the modeling assumptions and the model's predictive capabilities, but the reporting of individual-based modeling methods, parameterization and calibration was variable. Six papers discussed the time step used and one discussed efforts to maintain internal validity in coding. Individual-based models represent detailed HIV transmission processes with the potential to contribute to inference and policy making for many different regions and populations. The rigor in reporting of assumptions, methods, and calibration of individual-based models focused on HIV transmission and prevention varies greatly. Higher standards for reporting of statistically rigorous calibration and model assumption testing need to be implemented to increase confidence in existing and future modeling results.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(9):e75624. · 3.73 Impact Factor

Full-text (3 Sources)

Available from
May 29, 2014