Participatory and Exploratory Simulation with Agent Control

The concept of agent control is a new paradigm for human-computer interaction in agent-based simulation. It allows humans to interact with a running simulation either for participating in a multi-agent simulation scenario by controlling (or ‘playing’) one of the agents (participatory simulation) or for exploring a simulation scenario by means of intervention (exploratory simulation).

While exploratory simulation can be used for the interactive validation of a simulation model and for teaching (allowing students to experience the dynamics of a simulation model by directly interacting with it), participatory simulation allows to attack simulation problems where one (or more) of the involved human roles cannot be sufficiently faithfully modeled and therefore have to be played by human actors. I expect that both forms of simulation allow interesting applications in the social sciences.

Implementing agent control requires a new user interface architecture where agent control is a third component of the animation user interface, in addition to visualization and sonification (sound). I will show how we have implemented an agent control user interface in our Simurena platform for web-based simulations ( and present a few examples of simulations with agent control as well as the idea of developing an exploratory simulation version of Schelling's segregation model.

Wednesday, 2 May, 2012 - 12:30 to 14:00
Gerd Wagner
Presenter(s) biography: 

Gerd Wagner is Professor of Informatics, Chair of Internet Technology at the Brandenburg University of Technology at Cottbus, Germany