The accurate replication of spatial systems is a formidable task. In any given spatial system, a tremendous number of components may be connected by perplexing processes that operate at different spatial and temporal scales. The bottom up approach of ABM provides researchers with a useful tool for the analysis of local phenomena at a global level.
ABM is a computational tool for the analysis of social agents as developing systems of independent interrelating agents relative to their impacts on complex adaptive social organizations. ABM allows researchers to study the way in which macro phenomena develop from micro-level actions by heterogeneous sets of interrelating agents. Using ABM, researchers may methodically test different hypotheses relative to the traits of agents, the behavioral rules that govern these agents, the interfaces of agents with other agents, and the impact of agent behavior at the macro-level.
Over the last thirty years, ABM has gained acceptance as a valid research tool. The use of agents makes it possible to analyze and evaluate the integrative processes and interfaces at various levels of scale associated with agent to agent and agent to environment interactions. As time goes on, it is likely that increasingly sophisticated agent-based models will make it possible to accurately predict the specific and general impacts of the actions of individuals and/or groups of individuals on the world in which we live. It is already obvious that independent actors (e.g., a few terrorists) can significantly influence the alignment of the world order. The predictive capacities and demonstrative capabilities of agent-based modeling will be of growing value to analysts, scholars and leaders.
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The development of this lecture rests on source material from: “Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling by Andrew T. Crooks and Alison J. Heppenstall as found in Heppenstall, Alison, Crooks, Andrew, See, Linda and Batty, Michael (editors), Agent-Based Models of Geographical Systems, Springer, New York,; (2012), chapter 5, pp. 85 – 109; and, Janssen, Marco A. Agent Based Modeling, Internet Encyclopedia of Ecological Economics, (March, 2005), as found at www.isecoeco.org/pdf/agent_based_modelling.pdf.