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What is Agent Based Modeling?

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A brief description is that Intelligent Agents allow a different way of determining system behavior. Rather than simply describing how a system behaves at a facility level, each object is instead given its own behavior and how it should react to the system around it. Overall system behavior then emerges from interactions between these independent, “intelligent” agents.

For example, consider a highway. You could program a highway by describing behavior like speed and lane-changing at the facility level, but there would be some inaccuracies. In an agent approach, you instead give each vehicle its own travel profile that describes its speed under various conditions and it's propensity to change lanes (e.g. my grandmother never exceeds the speed limit and very rarely changes lanes, but I have been known to bend the speed limit a bit and change lanes frequently). Depending on how many vehicles of each type you have on the road, you would get very different (and often surprising) system behavior.

Here are a couple web resources describing ABM:



We see Agent Based Modeling used in Simio in at least two ways.

First, there are some classes of problems for which ABM is clearly the best approach. While there are several academic-oriented ABM products and a few commercial, domain-specific ABM products, there are very few solid, commercially vetted, general purpose ABM solutions. Simio is an object-oriented (OO) simulation product with agent objects at the core of the architecture. In addition, where other OO products require you to define or extend agent behavior by programming (e.g. Java, C# or a proprietary language) in Simio you can define agent behavior graphically using processes - making it much easier to do.

Second, there are many problems that are best modeled by a mix of simulation techniques. When part of the problem requires differential equations (Systems Dynamics), mass flow algorithms, agent-based modeling, advanced material handling, or sophisticated data representation, you should not have to change tools or compromise (approximate) your approach. Simio provides a single integrated set of the tools you need to get the job done.

Here is the widely recognized ABM "Boids" model implemented in Simio: Agent Based Boids Model in Simio.mp4

Edited by Guest

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Hi dsturrock

Thank you for the fix. It is very interesting!

Would there be a way to get the simio-project and code for the boids-model?

I am a student at university of science in rapperswul, switzerland (www.hsr.ch) and working on a generic implementation for agent based modeling with simio.

Your project can give me some hints and ideas.

Best Regards


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