Agent-Based Simulation
Spring 2016
Catalog Data: 

ECE 408 -- Agent-Based Simulation (3 units)

Description: This course will introduce the student to the following: the concept of agents and multi-agent systems; the main issues in the theory and practice of multi-agent systems; the design of multi-agent systems; contemporary platforms for implementing agents and multi-agent systems; artificial life, artificial societies, N-person games. Most important, they will learn to develop meaningful agent-based systems.

Grading: Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E

ECE 175

Railsback, Steven F. and Volker Grimm. Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling: A Practical Introduction. Princeton University Press. 2011.

Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the notion of an agent.
  2. Utilize NetLogo and other contemporary platforms for implementing agent-based simulation.
  3. Work with the key issues associated with constructing agents, building and implementing models.
  4. Describe the main approaches to developing agent-based simulation systems.
  5. Identify the types of multi-agent interactions possible in such systems.
  6. List the main application areas of agent-based simulation.
  7. Develop meaningful agent-based systems.
Course Topics: 
  • Agents, objects, distributed systems
  • Multi-agent nonlinear stochastic systems
  • Agent personalities
  • Intelligent agents
  • Mobile agents
  • History of multi-agent systems research
  • Distributed Artificial Intelligence
  • Complex systems
  • Cellular automata
  • N-person games
  • Cooperation, coalitions, auctions, negotiations, bargaining
  • Artificial life
  • Agent simulation as a tool for understanding human societies
  • Social networks and dilemmas
  • Agent simulation in game theory, economics, biology, sociology, political science, etc.
  • Design and implementation of multi-agent models
  • Computational techniques for agent-based simulation
  • Agent simulation design methodologies
  • NetLogo and other platforms for implementing agent-based simulation
  • Pitfalls of agent development
  • Applications of agent systems to real-life problems
  • Case studies
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 

Two, 75-minute lectures per week

Relationship to Student Outcomes: 

ECE 408 contributes directly to the following specific Electrical and Computer Engineering Student Outcomes of the ECE department:

  • an ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering (Medium)
  • an ability to design a system, component, or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability (Medium)
  • an ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems (High)
  • an ability to communicate effectively (Medium)
  • the broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context (Medium)
  • an ability to use the techniques, skills, and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (High)
Prepared Date: 
Dr. Michael Valenzuela
Modifications By: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering