Object-Oriented and Agent-Oriented Simulation: Implications for Social Science Application

  • Adelinde Uhrmacher
Conference paper


The description of entities and their interaction is central to object- and agent-oriented simulation. Object- and agent-oriented techniques lend themselves for the multilevel simulation of societies, representing individual and collective actors as objects or agents, respectively. The question rises to what extend does agent-oriented deviate from object-oriented simulation and which are the possibilities each of them offers in capturing phenomena of modern societies. The distinction between objects and agents seems often reduced to a question of naming. However, the simulation of agents that intentionally interact with and reason about their environment surpasses usually the capabilities of object-oriented simulation frameworks. Those agents require specific mechanisms to structure and to expand the knowledge of objects by internal models about the world they are interacting with. At this point, a correspondence between agents and variable structure models can be stated. Between objects and agents, variable structure models play a mediating role in simulating individuals and societies as dynamic, evolving entities. Referring to concepts in individualistic social science and symbolic interactionism, this role is explored more closely. The simulation system AgedDEVS which has been developed to support variable structure models in an object-oriented discrete event simulation system is used for illustration.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Adelinde Uhrmacher
    • 1
  1. 1.Fakultät für Informatik Abteilung Künstliche IntelligenzUniversität UlmUlmDeutschland

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