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ESSA 2009

  Seminars and Demonstrations

  • Modelling4All: Supporting non-programmers in composing agent-based models in a Web 2.0 community

    Ken Kahn and others, Oxford University

    We will present the Modelling4All Behaviour Composer: An on-line, point-and-click-based Web 2.0 modelling tool that allows non-programmers to create, run, modify, and share agent-based models. We will focus on issues of using modelling as a teaching tool by drawing on our experiences in using the Modelling4All web site and tools for teaching subjects as diverse as  epidemiology and business at the University of Oxford to non-expert computer users. While this demonstration will be focused upon issues of teaching modelling, we expect that researchers will find it valuable as well. The demonstration will be part presentation, part ‘learning-by-doing’.

  • An introduction to normative agents

    Ulf Lotzmann and others, University of Koblenz-Landau

    The consideration of norms as regulative elements in artificial agent societies is an emerging topic in agent-based social simulation. The EMIL project ( focuses on modelling social processes in which norms come into existence by individual interactions and learning processes (norm formation) and by influencing individuals by existing norms (norm oriented behaviour). EMIL proposes a theoretical framework (EMIL-A) and provides a software platform (EMIL-S) which allows the creation of new as well as the extension of existing agent models with normative capabilities. The session gives an introduction to building EMIL-compliant agent models, and will consist of:

    1. An overview of the theoretical background.
    2. Hands-on practice, where all steps up to a running EMIL-S model are presented by means of a small example.
  • Qualitatively informed agent-based models: Problems and ideas to solve them

    Armando Geller, George Mason University

    In the last couple of years the use of qualitative data in social science research has received increasing attention beyond domains traditionally dealing with this type of data, such as anthropology and history. Its usage in the formal modelling community and in agent-based social simulation deserves particular consideration. While the advantages and prospects of using qualitative data in conjunction with agent-based modelling have been discussed, we hardly talk about the related problems. This session is meant to identify the most relevant problems, including data formalization, model validation, and interpretation of results, and to present and collect ideas of how to tackle them.

  • Teaching social simulation

    Edmund Chattoe-Brown and Nigel Gilbert (SIMIAN)

    Those teaching innovative methods such as social simulation face two problems. For novice teachers, the costs of starting up are relatively high. For experienced teachers, there are few opportunities to exchange ideas about "what works" (and what doesn't). This session is intended to address both by offering an opportunity for those already teaching simulation to pool their expertise and a chance for those who aren't to see how it is done. We hope those who are already teaching simulation will bring sample syllabi and reading lists. If there is a good attendance, we shall consider setting up an ESSA SIG for teachers.

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© University of Surrey, Guildford, 2008
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