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Towards an Emergence-Driven Software Process For Agent-Based Simulation

By Nuno David, Jaime Simão Sichman and Helder Coelho


In this paper we propose an emergence-driven software process for agent-based simulation (ABS), which unambiguously cladties the traceability of micro and macro observations to micro and macro specifications. We illustrate how micro and macro specifications interact in agent-based models and that the reductionism/non-reductionism debate is important to understand the reliability of simulation programs. In particular, we show that the effort expended in static verification of agent-based models increases exponentially with the number of micro and macro specifications, and that the reliability assessment of nonanticipated results in simulation is in practice not possible. According to these results we claim that the process of dynamic verification, validation and exploration of results is not reliable in ABS, and call into question the applicability of traditional software engineering methods to ABS. Finally, we argue that this problem may ultimately force us to use ABS in order to prescribe models of target realities, rather than use representational models according to hypothetic assumptions of explanation sufficiency

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