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Agent-based models are computer models that use agents, or small software programs, to represent autonomous individual actors, such as households or plants, that create complex systems, such as economies or ecosystems, respectively. Agent-based models are useful because they can identify how features of complex systems emerge from the simple interactions of their components. The utility of agent-based modeling is tempered by the challenges posed by representing complex systems, such as the need for data and the difficulty of validating complicated models.

Agent-Based Model Components

The word agent is used in many contexts, ranging from the term agency to describe free will in humans to the term address-matching agents to denote software programs that geocode street addresses to locations. In agent-based modeling, the term agent is meant in ...

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