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February 2005
ISBN 0 335 21600 5 (paperback)
0 335 21601 3 (hardback)

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Second Edition

  • What can computer simulation contribute to the social sciences?
  • Which of the many approaches to simulation would be best for my social science project?
  • How do I design, carry out and analyse the results from a computer simulation?

Interest in social simulation has been growing rapidly worldwide as a result of increasingly powerful hardware and software and a rising interest in the application of ideas of complexity, evolution, adaptation and chaos in the social sciences. Simulation for the Social Scientist is a practical textbook on the techniques of building computer simulations to assist understanding of social and economic issues and problems.

This authoritative book details all the common approaches to social simulation to provide social scientists with an appreciation of the literature and allow those with some programming skills to create their own simulations.

New for this edition:

  • A new chapter on designing multi-agent systems to support the fact that multi-agent modelling has become the most common approach to simulation
  • New examples and guides to current software
  • Updated throughout to take new approaches into account

The book is an essential tool for social scientists in a wide range of fields, particularly sociology, economics, anthropology, geography, organizational theory, political science, social policy, cognitive psychology and cognitive science. It will also appeal to computer scientists interested in distributed artificial intelligence, multi-agent systems and agent technologies.


Nigel Gilbert is Professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey, UK. He is editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation and has long experience of using simulation for research in sociology, environmental resource management, science policy and archaeology. His previous textbooks include Understanding Social Statistics (2000) and Researching Social Life (2001).

Klaus G. Troitzsch is Professor of Social Science Informatics at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany. He has written extensively in sociology and political science and pioneered the application of simulation to the social sciences in Germany.

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