ABM short course

Agent-Based Modelling for the Social Scientist - 

A Practical Guide to Model Building and NetLogo


14th-17th of November 2016, Centre for Research in Social Simulation, Department of Sociology, University of Surrey, Guildford, UK


Computational methods have revolutionised the sciences, including the social sciences. By being able to investigate dynamics in silico, model complex, interdependent systems and experiment with different hypotheses, computer modelling has become a research tool as important as the survey. 


Course Summary

This course will guide you through the research process of agent-based modelling in the social sciences: formulating a research question, specifying a model, creating a simulation and interpreting the output. During the course you will be helped to build a model using NetLogo, acquiring basic and intermediate programming skills.


Course Objectives

The syllabus includes: 

conceptualising agent-based models

operationalising and calibrating from data

experimenting and analysing

interpreting models

verifying and validating


Each step of the research process will be complemented by:

a. Hands-on sessions of model building in NetLogo, a widely used and powerful language for social science modelling. The sessions are designed in such a way that you will understand the structure of a model and learn to write the program code yourself.

b. Model development sessions. These sessions will facilitate the development of a model relevant to your research, from conception through specification to first steps of implementation. 


At the end of this course you will be able to see the world through modeller’s eyes and start programming your own agent-based models. 


Students/PhD £200, higher education staff £400, others £800. The course is part of the  ESRC Advanced Training Initiative three bursaries for UK non-DTC South East PhD students are available, covering fees and some travel. To apply please send a brief report from your supervisor/manager about the relevance of the course for your work and a statement why you need financial support attend. Deadline for application 17th of October 2016. 


To book please visit here.

For further information please email: abm-course@soc.surrey.ac.uk.