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Artificial Life

Spring 2014, Vol. 20, No. 2, Pages 271-289
(doi: 10.1162/ARTL_a_00129)
© 2014 Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The Practice of Agent-Based Model Visualization
Article PDF (968.97 KB)

We discuss approaches to agent-based model visualization. Agent-based modeling has its own requirements for visualization, some shared with other forms of simulation software, and some unique to this approach. In particular, agent-based models are typified by complexity, dynamism, nonequilibrium and transient behavior, heterogeneity, and a researcher's interest in both individual- and aggregate-level behavior. These are all traits requiring careful consideration in the design, experimentation, and communication of results. In the case of all but final communication for dissemination, researchers may not make their visualizations public. Hence, the knowledge of how to visualize during these earlier stages is unavailable to the research community in a readily accessible form. Here we explore means by which all phases of agent-based modeling can benefit from visualization, and we provide examples from the available literature and online sources to illustrate key stages and techniques.