ECE 408

Agent-Based Simulation
Catalog Data: 

ECE 408 - Agent-Based Simulation (3 units)

Description: Introduces student to the concept of agents and multiagent systems, the main issues in the theory and practice of multiagent systems, the design of multiagent systems, contemporary platforms for implementing agents and multiagent systems, and artificial life, artificial societies and N-person games. Students will learn to develop meaningful agent-based systems.

Grading: Regular grades are awarded for this course: A B C D E

ECE 175

Railsback, Steven F., and Volker Grimm. Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling: A Practical Introduction. Princeton University Press, 2011.

Course Learning Outcomes: 

By the end of this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Describe the notion of an agent
  2. Use NetLogo and other contemporary platforms for implementing agent-based simulation
  3. Work with the key issues associated with constructing agents, building and implementing models
  4. Describe the main approaches to developing agent-based simulation systems
  5. Identify the types of multiagent interactions possible in such systems
  6. List the main application areas of agent-based simulation
  7. Develop meaningful agent-based systems
Course Topics: 
  • Agents, objects, distributed systems
  • Multiagent nonlinear stochastic systems
  • Agent personalities
  • Intelligent agents
  • Mobile agents
  • History of multiagent systems research
  • Distributed artificial intelligence
  • Complex systems
  • Cellular automata
  • N-person games
  • Cooperation, coalitions, auctions, negotiations, bargaining
  • Artificial life
  • Agent simulation as a tool for understanding human societies
  • Social networks and dilemmas
  • Agent simulation in game theory, economics, biology, sociology, political science, etc.
  • Design and implementation of multi-agent models
  • Computational techniques for agent-based simulation
  • Agent simulation design methodologies
  • NetLogo and other platforms for implementing agent-based simulation
  • Pitfalls of agent development
  • Applications of agent systems to real-life problems
  • Case studies
Class/Laboratory Schedule: 

Two 75-minute lectures per week

Relationship to Student Outcomes: 

ECE 408 contributes directly to the following specific electrical and computer engineering student outcomes of the ECE department:

  • Ability to apply knowledge of mathematics, science and engineering (medium)
  • Ability to design a system, component or process to meet desired needs within realistic constraints, such as economic, environmental, social, political, ethical, health and safety, manufacturability and sustainability (medium)
  • Ability to identify, formulate and solve engineering problems (high)
  • Ability to communicate effectively (medium)
  • Broad education necessary to understand the impact of engineering solutions in a global, economic, environmental and societal context (medium)
  • Ability to use the techniques, skills and modern engineering tools necessary for engineering practice (high)
Prepared Date: 
Michael Valenzuela
Modifications By: 

University of Arizona College of Engineering