Agent-Based Social Simulation

Agent-based social simulation (ABSS) is a form of computer modelling of complex adaptive systems, in which the agents within such a system are represented explicitly and individually within the model. The model agents typically represent human individuals, but may also represent non-human animals, or human collectivities such as firms or states. Their interactions with each other, and often with a simulated external environment, take place according to rules which may vary between agents, and change as agents learn. ABSS models are generally created using an object-oriented programming language, allowing each agent to be implemented as an object.

Agent-based social simulation within a complex adaptive system perspective promises to increase understanding of the coupled socio-ecosystems that underlie land use change. FEARLUS uses the Swarm agent-based modelling system. Our approach is to begin with investigations using relatively simple, abstract models of the processes underlying land use change, developing our understanding of how social, economic, technical, policy and environmental factors may interact with individual variation among land managers in prepration for future work with detailed models of specific past and present situations.