Uri Wilensky’s New Book Explores Agent-Based Modeling

Uri Wilensky’s New Book Explores Agent-Based Modeling

Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling

Rapid technological advances are revolutionizing work in science, mathematics and complex theories. To introduce the powers of agent-based computer modeling for investigating complex problems, SESP learning sciences professor Uri Wilensky has written a widely praised book called An Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling.

Agent-based modeling offers a new way of doing science — with computer-based experiments. An Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling shows how agent-based modeling applies to domains from chemistry to sociology to engineering. Intended for teachers, students and scientists of all stripes, the book describes the key premises, methods and uses of agent-based modeling.

For hands-on activities and examples, the book employs the computer language NetLogo, which was authored by Wilensky. For example, NetLogo models may simulate how crystals develop, how birds flock and how forest fires spread. Each chapter includes step-by-step guides for developing models, along with references, key concepts and explorations. With these resources, readers can begin to construct models of their own.

Respected authorities in the field have offered praise for the book. For example, Rob Goldstone, Chancellor's Professor of Psychological and Brain Sciences at Indiana University, says, “This book eloquently captures the excitement of understanding natural and social phenomena by recreating them in computer simulations.”

Uri Wilensky

Likewise, Joshua M. Epstein, a professor at Johns Hopkins University and the Santa Fe Institute, says the book has “set the standard for textbooks on this topic.” He describes it as an “outstanding book” and “an essential contribution.”

Melanie Mitchell, professor at Portland State University and the Santa Fe Institute and the author of Complexity: A Guided Tour, recommends the book as “the best book out there for learning (or teaching) the art and science of agent-based modeling.”

Wilensky’s co-author for Introduction to Agent-Based Modeling: Modeling Natural, Social, and Engineered Complex Systems with NetLogo is William Rand, assistant professor of marketing and computer science and director of the Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland. The book is published by the MIT Press.

At Northwestern University, Wilensky is professor of learning sciences, computer science and complex systems. He is also the founder and director of the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling (CCL), which is dedicated to the use of technology to deepen learning.

By Marilyn Sherman
Last Modified: 7/8/15