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Agent-based modeling (ABM) is a way of representing systems in terms of interacting agents. It goes under various names across disciplines, including agent-based computational economics (ACE), agent-based social simulation (ABSS, common in Europe), multi-agent systems (MAS) in computer science (mainly artificial intelligence) and individual-based modeling (IBM) in ecology. Agent systems are a generalization of an earlier approach to representing interacting objects (e.g., particles, molecules) known as the cellular automata (CA).

ABM is used for modeling of social systems where individual agents play a role in group behavior and dynamics.  Uses include:

  • Game Theory
  • Evolutionary Game Theory
  • Organizational Theory
  • Economics and Markets
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology
  • Political Science

The Ascape framework was developed to support the key ideas of agent-based modeling. Ascape is designed to help the modeler by use of the concepts of cells, cell occupants and local neighborhoods in order to allow her to quickly start creating ABM models. In what follows, we will walk through the general structure of an Ascape model.

The Basic Structure of an Ascape Model

The Agent is the basic structure in Ascape. All of the Ascape objects that we will be concerned with are formally Ascape agents. So far, we have concerned ourselves with cells and cell occupants. Both of these kinds of agents are basic Ascape agents; however cells and cell occupants live inside of collections, and these collections are agents as well. The lattice that the cells comprise is an agent that holds cells. The structure that holds the cell occupants, whether it is called an array, a list, or, more intuitively, a collection, is also an agent.

In a fairly basic Ascape model, a collection of cell agents is owned by a lattice agent, and a collection of cell occupant agents is owned by a list agent. In such a model, the lattice and the list sit in the background as containers, and the cells and cell occupants do all of the work. However, this need not be the case, as lists and lattices can interact with each other as agents embedded in still larger structures. As an example of a simple model, consider the prisoner’s dilemma model. In this model, the lattice contains a list of cells that are specifically designed for hosting cell occupants. These ‘Host Cells’ do not do any work, but simply sit inside the lattice agent. The lattice agent itself is also inert in this model. There is also a list agent, called “players”, that contains all of the cell occupants agents that are in the model. This list ‘holds’ the rules for all of its members and when it is activated it tells all of its member agents to execute these rules.


In EATSv5 “everything” is an AIR Element with a shorthand recognition as an AIR item.  AIR items are defined as I_AF_AirItem interfaces.  Instantiated AIR items are functional Elements within a DOM framework. AIR Elements are composed of C_AF_Attributes, which are a form of I_AF_AirItems.  All I_AF_AirItems occupy space within a common global lattice, and all C_AF_Attributes express themselves axiomatically against any other I_AF_AirItems of concern by means of a consistent axiomatic ontology. Participants are defined as Elements identified as related to identified concerns defined within the architecture of a System of Concern (SoC). Boundary definitions are implied by depth of understanding of concerns and issues. Referrals are items known to be identified with reliable certitude to be unaffected by, and unaffecting to the concerns of the model.  Other identified items become the “players” that constitute the model. People are recognized as a formalized known entity with special behaviors that are unique and distinct at the individual level, but which follow general patterns of similarity when assembled in sets.

EATSv5 uses ABM modelling, and follows the Ascape pattern for framing the agent landscape.  However, it is not a derived framework. EATSv5 modeling is fundamentally based on R.C. Wentworth’s BATSG1 and Dynamo.

Open Source Repository: SourceForge

A framework and runtime environment for exploring agent-based models designed to support the definition of models using an expressive, high-level and extensible Java API and to support the exploration of these models in both interactive and batch mode.

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Ascape Screenshot



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