Agent-based modelling – a new method for investigating environmental problems
Author: Dr. Diana POPOVICI
Abstract: The agent-based modelling (ABM) represents a newly emerged domain with multiple applications. They started to develop in late 1940’s and they reached maturity in 2000’s – 2010’s. Nowadays, more and more studies are being made using ABM, proving that they are a powerful tool in exploring patterns, interactions and behaviours. As their name suggest, they rely on agents. There is still no formal definition for agents, but they are considered to be autonomous entities, capable of having a certain behaviour and to interact with other agents and/or with the environment they belong to. The environment, the agents and the interactions established form the ABM. Even though this type of models has evolved from mathematics, thanks to computer development, and especially computer graphics, they now offer the possibility to visually explore certain behaviours and to identify a pattern. Also, of great importance and contributing directly to the ABMs application expansion, is the development of a variety of toolkits used for designing agent-based models. Many of the toolkits are open source and continuously implement more simplified programming language. These are the main reasons for which ABMs are used nowadays in a very wide range of domains – from ecology to healthcare and medicine, from archaeology to stock markets, from combats and air traffic control to emergency situations, from social and natural sciences to robotics.
agent, model, computer simulation, behaviour, social.