Being the turtle: agent-based modeling workshop at Humboldt State University
What could bring ecologists, toxicologists, philosophers, and sociologists, Ph.D. students, professors, and federal agency scientists together, 300 miles from nowhere? Turtles. Yes, that's right... turtles. Not the green, scaly kind... but the "turtles" that represent agents or individuals in agent-based models implemented in NetLogo.
Agent- or individual-based models seek to explain complex properties of groups by modeling the action of individuals with simple rules. Applications include disease spread, animal migration and foraging, complex learning environments, economic decision-making, muscle development, membrane function, population genetics and much more. NetLogo is a very student-friendly gateway into modeling, with powerful built-in commands that get models up and running quickly.
Steve Railsback, Volker Grimm, and Steven Lytinen together led an excellent short course on teaching agent-based models with NetLogo in Arcata, CA July 26-31. The course was based around the textbook Agent-based and individual-based modeling: a practical introduction by Railsback and Grimm (2012, Princeton University Press).
QUBES will be hosting a faculty mentoring network (what's that?) in the fall for instructors interested in adding ABMs to their course(s). The network will provide guidance and support as the faculty learn ABMs and NetLogo, then implement new learning modules in their classrooms.