Agent-based Social Simulation

Agent-based social simulation (or ABSS) consists of social simulations that are based on agent-based modeling and implemented using artificial agent technologies. ABSS as a main computational approach to social simulation has attracted increasing attention in the field of social computing. Agent-based social simulation is a scientific discipline concerned with the simulation of social phenomena, using computer-based multiagent models. With the development of computer and information technologies, many new ABSS approaches have been proposed with wide application. In these simulations, persons or groups of persons are represented by agents. MABSS is a combination of social science, multiagent simulation, and computer simulation.

Although agent-based social simulation has been proposed since the 1970s, it is getting more popular in recent decades with the development of artificial intelligence and computational theory. ABSS models the different elements of the social systems using artificial agents, (varying on the scale) and placing them in a computer-simulated society to observe the behaviors of the agents. From this data, it is possible to learn about the reactions of the artificial agents and translate them into the results of non-artificial agents and simulations. This has to be contrasted with traditional analytical modeling, which relies on a very well established, although implicit, methodological protocol, both with respect to the way models are presented and to the
kind of analysis that is performed. Three main fields in ABSS are agent-based computing, social science, and computer simulation.

A description of the area of Agent-Based Social Simulation (ABSS) from a computer scientist’s perspective is presented. Agent-based computing is the design of the model and agents, while the computer simulation is the part of the simulation of the agents in the model and the outcomes. The social science is a mixture of sciences and social part of the model. Social scientists have begun to convert social theories to computer programs. It is where social phenomena are developed and theorized. The main purpose of ABSS is to provide models and tools for agent-based simulation of social phenomena. With ABSS, one can explore different outcomes of phenomena where it may not be possible to view the outcome in real life. Possible benefits to agent-based computing from computer simulation includes methods for evaluation of multi-agent systems or for training future users of the system. It can provide us valuable information on society and the outcomes of social events or phenomena.