A Method for Validating and Discovering Associations between Multi-level Emergent Behaviours in Agent-Based Simulations

  • Chih-Chun Chen
  • Sylvia B. Nagl
  • Christopher D. Clack
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 4953)


Agent-based models (ABM) and their simulations have been used to study complex systems with interacting entities and to model multi-agent systems. Simulations are used to explore the dynamic consequences of these models. In many cases, the behaviours that are of interest are emergent ones that arise as a result of interactions between agents rather than the actions of any individual agent. In this paper, we propose a formalism for describing emergent behaviours at any level of abstraction based on the idea that event types can be defined that characterise sets of behavioural ‘motifs’. This provides the basis for a method for studying the associations between multi-level behaviours in simulations. There are two categories of hypotheses that we seek to address with respect to an ABM and its simulations:

  • Hypotheses concerned with associations between emergent behaviours defined at various levels of abstraction.

  • Hypotheses concerned with the links between parameter sensitivity / initial conditions and emergent behaviours e.g. the ABM is sensitive to a parameter x because x predisposes the system or part of the system to exhibit a particular (emergent) behaviour.


agent-based modelling emergence complex systems multi-agent systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chih-Chun Chen
    • 1
  • Sylvia B. Nagl
    • 2
  • Christopher D. Clack
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Computer ScienceUniversity College London 
  2. 2.Department of Oncology and BiochemistryUniversity College London 

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