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Self-taught course

Provided by: Social Sciences Research Methods Programme


This course is self taught (Online course).

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Agent-Based Modelling with Netlogo

Self-taught course


Societies can be viewed as path-dependent dynamical systems in which the interactions between multiple heterogeneous actors, and the institutions and organisations they create, lead to complex overlapping patterns of change over different space and time-scales. Agent-based models are exploratory tools for trying to understand some of this complexity. They use computational methods to represent individual people, households, organisations, or other types of agent, and help to make explicit the potential consequences of hypotheses about the way people act, interact and engage with their environment. These types of models have been used in fields as diverse as Architecture, Archaeology, Criminology, Economics, Epidemiology, Geography, and Sociology, covering all kinds of topics including social networks and formation of social norms, spatial distribution of criminal activity, spread of disease, issues in health and welfare, warfare and disasters, behaviour in stock-markets, land-use change, farming,forestry, fisheries, traffic flow, planning and development of cities, flooding and water management. This course introduces a popular freely available software tool, Netlogo, which is accessible to those with no initial programming experience, and shows how to use it to develop a variety of simple models so that students would be able to see how it might apply to their own research.



Topics covered
  • Introduction to simulation in social systems; concepts involved in writing computer programs; outline of Netlogo and its capabilities; the user interface, documentation, adding buttons, patches and agents; using example code.
  • Following from session one, a set of examples will illustrate the techniques needed to make practical working programs, including illustrations of : Cellular automata; system dynamics; networks; gis; land use change.

Online lectures via Moodle VLE.


Booking / availability