Computer Simulations Using NetLogo

Teaching Contemporary Mathematics Conference
January 25, 2013
Christine Belledin
NC School of Science and Mathematics
 Variable Definitions
 Global variables
 Agentset-specific variables
 Setup Procedures
 Clear variables
 Use patches and turtles to create environment
 Reset tick counter
 Go Procedures
 Define steps that are carries out on the agents at each tick
 Use subroutines to add structure and clarity
 NetLogo tutorials
 My students work independently through the tutorials from the NetLogo
 Tutorial 1: Students learn to use and explore existing models
 Tutorial 2: Students learn to write command and modify existing models
 Tutorial 3: Students build a simple NetLogo model
 For less experiences students, you may want to complete Tutorial 3 together
as a class.
 Write a program as a class
 Show students the Fire model from the NetLogo library.
 Introduce modified problem (see next slide) and develop model
 First homework: students make one addition/modification to our class model
Suppose 30% of the wooded areas along the western edge of a region catch fire.
There are 5 houses scattered throughout the area. In each step, if a neighbor of a
patch is on fire, then the patch has a 50% chance of catching fire. Which house is
most likely to burn?
Step 1: Create the environment.
 Turn patches green and brown
 Randomly place houses
 Set fires along western edge
Step 2: Spread the fire.
 Spread the fire through the green patches
 Show a house burns by turning grey
Step 3: Make improvements.
 Identify problems in the simulation and address them
 Try to have a stopping point for the simulation
Step 4: Add in extras.
 Allow user to input forest density, number of houses, etc.
 Report the impact of the fire numerically or graphically
 Start with the NetLogo tutorials from the NetLogo User Manual
 Explore existing models from the Models Library
 Look through the code of a few models and try to understand the
 Try making modifications to existing models
 Search the “Code Examples” section for simple examples of particular
 Use the NetLogo dictionary to search for relevant commands
 Check out the NetLogo Resources page for collections of models
 Recommended book: Agent-Based and Individual-Based Modeling: A
Practical Introduction (2011) by Steven F. Railsback and Volker Grimm

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