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Steven F. Railsback and Volker Grimm. Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modelling: A Practical Introduction.

Steven F. Railsback and Volker Grimm. Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modelling: A Practical Introduction. Princeton, U.S.A.: Princeton University Press. 2012. 352 pages. U.S. $ 105.00.

Agent-based modelling is a relatively new modelling technique that studies actions and interactions of agents, including individuals and collective entities. The Agent-Based Models (ABMs) combine the elements of game theory, complex systems, emergence, and evolutionary programming to simulate actions and interactions of agents to understand complex phenomena and systems. Although the use of ABMs is quite widespread in computer sciences and engineering, their use is quite limited in social sciences, and other fields, such as biology. Not surprisingly, therefore, there is a dearth of textbooks that specifically deal with agent-based models. Railsback and Grimm have written this book to fill this void. The book is divided into 4 parts and each part is further subdivided into chapters. The first part is introductory in which basic explanation of the nature and use of ABMs is provided. The second part builds on the orientation developed in the first part and moves on to specific model design concepts. Specifically, this part looks at the emergent properties of the models and their analysis. It also explains in detail the most important aspect of the ABMs: the designing and analysing simulation experiments to test hypotheses. Research has shown that in situation which involves actions and interactions of agents, outcomes are often "complex". The third part of the book, therefore, introduces the concept of complexity. It builds upon previous parts of the book to introduce model complexity. It also explains the tools and methods to calibrate models. The fourth and final part of the book provides explanation of the analysis of the model through heuristics and statistical analysis that could be used to understand ABMs. Agent-based modelling requires computer softwares as ABMs are simulation models and there are a number of softwares (modelling environments) that are used to build ABMs and to analyse, them. This book uses NetLogo to build, analyse, simulate, and calibrate models. Along with explaining the essence behind the ABMs, the book also gives in-depth instructions on using NetLogo. Each state of modelling combines instructions on using NetLogo. Although, agent-based modelling may not replace conventional modelling techniques, ABMs are a useful tool' to aid in understanding complex phenomena. According to the authors, the book may be adopted as a textbook in places where courses on agent-based modelling are taught or it may be read independently by independent readers interested in agent-based models.

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Author:Siddique, Omer
Publication:Pakistan Development Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 22, 2015
Words:416
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