Leigh Tesfatsion, professor emerita, gave the keynote address at the Social Simulation Conference (Virtual), sponsored by the European Social Simulation Association (ESSA) Sept. 20-24, 2021.
"Agent-Based Modeling: The Right Mathematics for Social Science?"
Abstract:This presentation provides a basic introduction to agent-based modeling in complete agent-based form, characterized by seven specific modeling principles. These principles embody the idea that complete agent-based models are computational laboratories permitting users to explore, in an open-ended manner, how changes in initial conditions for a virtual world affect resulting world outcomes over time. Complete agent-based modeling is thus analogous to biological experimentation with cultures in petri dishes. As computational capabilities continue to develop, this constructive mathematical approach will permit real-world social systems to be modeled with increasing fidelity, with careful co-evolutionary consideration of social interactions, institutional arrangements, and physical constraints. However, it will also require elimination of artificial disciplinary boundaries. Two illustrative examples will be given to illustrate this important point: flood management policy within a watershed populated by farmers; and alignment of customer goals and constraints with grid reliability constraints for an electric power system in a manner that respects customer privacy.