Chapter

Simulating Social Complexity

Part of the series Understanding Complex Systems pp 95-116

Date:

Checking Simulations: Detecting and Avoiding Errors and Artefacts

  • José M. GalánAffiliated withDepartamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Burgos Email author 
  • , Luis R. IzquierdoAffiliated withDepartamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Burgos
  • , Segismundo S. IzquierdoAffiliated withDepartamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Burgos
  • , José I. SantosAffiliated withDepartamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Burgos
  • , Ricardo del OlmoAffiliated withDepartamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Burgos
  • , Adolfo López-ParedesAffiliated withDepartamento de Ingeniería Civil, Universidad de Burgos

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Why Read This Chapter?

Given the complex and exploratory nature of many agent-based models, checking that the model performs in the manner intended by its designers is a very challenging task. This chapter helps the reader to identify some of the possible types of error and artefact that may appear in the different stages of the modelling process. It will also suggest some activities that can be conducted to detect, and hence avoid, each type.

Abstract

The aim of this chapter is to provide the reader with a set of concepts and a range of suggested activities that will enhance his or her ability to understand agent-based simulations. To do this in a structured way, we review the main concepts of the methodology (e.g. we provide precise definitions for the terms ‘error’ and ‘artefact’) and establish a general framework that summarises the process of designing, implementing, and using agent-based models. Within this framework we identify the various stages where different types of assumptions are usually made and, consequently, where different types of errors and artefacts may appear. We then propose several activities that can be conducted to detect each type of error and artefact.