Course: Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling

Course summary: At the crossroads of biology, social science, philosophy, and artificial intelligence, the course introduces students to agent-based modeling, a new approach to modeling, thinking about, and analyzing complex and adaptive social and ecological systems. The agent-based approach is rooted in the idea that the complex macro-level patterns we observe in social and ecological systems emerge from micro-level interactions among decentralized and self-organizing agents that follow relatively simple and localized rules. The course carefully and thoroughly reviews the conceptual foundations of agent-based modeling, provides social and ecological examples of its application, and introduces students to a free modeling tool, called NetLogo, which can be used to build and analyze agent-based models.

As much as we tried presenting the material as simply as possible, agent-based modeling is not a simple task and to do it justice the course covers a lot of ground, some of which will be challenging. Do not be discouraged by this. Just be ready to be kept on your toes (i.e., this is not an easy course).

Prerequisites: Advanced reading comprehension and analytical skills, intermediate research and computer skills, regular access to the Internet, and access to a computer that meets the requirements listed here.

Instructor: Dr. Garry Sotnik

Institution: Last taught (Winter 2021) at Portland State University, Systems Science Program.

Documents: Discussion guidelines, Description of Project 1, Description of Project 2, Grading rubric.