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Agent-Based Models

  • By: Arika Ligmann-Zielinska
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Agent-based models (ABMs) are digital representations of systems, composed of a community of heterogeneous and interacting individuals distributed within a shared environment, which they transform to achieve their objectives. Agents, implemented as computer programs, are viewed as autonomous entities that decide for themselves what needs to be done to meet their goals. Equipped with atomic decision rules that drive their behavior, agents are the basic units of action in the model. They can epitomize humans, animals, and higher-order entities such as com panies, tribes, agencies, or herds. Within the geographic domain, the critical element of agent-based modeling is the spatially differentiated environment that represents economies, ecosystems, and societies. ABMs are characterized by a variety of complex system facets that are relevant to modeling dynamic processes ...

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