Towards an Emergence-Driven Software Process for Agent-Based Simulation

  • Nuno David
  • Jaime Simão Sichman
  • Helder Coelho
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 2581)


In this paper we propose an emergence-driven software process for agent-based simulation that clarifies the traceability of micro and macro observations to micro and macro specifications in agent-based models. We use the concept of hyperstructures [1] to illustrate how micro and macro specifications interact in agent-based models, and show that the reductionism/ non-reductionism debate is important to understand the reliability of agent-based simulations. In particular, we show that the effort expended in the verification of agent-based simulations increases exponentially with the number of micro and macro specifications, and that the reliability assessment of non-anticipated results in simulation is in practice not possible. According to these results we claim to be impossible in practice to verify that an agent-based conceptual model has been implemented properly as a computational model, since we do not usually know what we want the output to be a priori. We thus advocate that the classic process of verification, validation and exploration of non-anticipated results is not reliable in agent-based simulation, and call into question the applicability of traditional software engineering methods to agent-based simulation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nuno David
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jaime Simão Sichman
    • 2
  • Helder Coelho
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information Science and TechnologyISCTE/DCTILisbonPortugal
  2. 2.Intelligent Techniques LaboratoryUniversity of São PauloBrazil

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