COLQ 201, Multiagent Modeling

Time and place: MWF 3:30 - 4:30, Newcomb Hall 404
Prof. Harry Howard howard at tulane dot edu
Office: Newcomb Hall 322-D
862-3417 (voice mail 24 hours a day)
Office hours: MW 4:30-5:30, T 4-5 and by appointment

Description: Multiagent Modeling teaches you that simple rules underlie complex phenomena. In particular, it demonstrates how a population of agents that interact with one another and with their environment according to simple instructions can simulate a variety of seemingly unrelated phenomena in the earth sciences, biology, urban studies, artificial intelligence, epidemiology, ecology, evolutionary biology, anthropology, economics, decision theory, organizational psychology, political science, communications, and linguistics. Rather than having you go out into the real world and perform costly and painstaking experiments on the atmosphere, forests, wolves and sheep, banks, farmers, superhighways, cities or villages, you will learn how to use a 2D modeling environment called NetLogo to populate an artificial world of your design with agents that do your bidding, or at least follow the rules that you impose on them. When you run your model world, its agents will interact over time, and you may see complex, and often unexpected, patterns develop among them. As a by-product, you should be able to talk to almost anyone about almost anything. This can be useful in a job interview or a cocktail party. Don't think that Tulane doesn't teach you practical stuff.

Did I mention that this is going to be fun? Go ahead and try out the NetLogo simulation Mimicry. Read the text and then click the link "Run Mimicry in your browser". Move the slider at the top right more towards the right so that the simulation will run faster, click the setup button and then the go button. What happens to the viceroys? And more importantly, do you understand how it happens?


Outcomes: For you to demonstrate your attainment of these objectives, you will perform the following tasks:

Conversion number to letter

Code of Academic Integrity

“The integrity of Newcomb-Tulane College is based on the absolute honesty of the entire community in all academic endeavors. As part of the Tulane University community, students have certain responsibilities regarding work that forms the basis for the evaluation of their academic achievement. Students are expected to be familiar with these responsibilities at all times. No member of the university community should tolerate any form of academic dishonesty, because the scholarly community of the university depends on the willingness of both instructors and students to uphold the Code of Academic Conduct. When a violation of the Code of Academic Conduct is observed it is the duty of every member of the academic community who has evidence of the violation to take action. Students should take steps to uphold the code by reporting any suspected offense to the instructor or the associate dean of the college. Students should under no circumstances tolerate any form of academic dishonesty.” For further information, point your browser at

Violations of the Code of Academic Integrity will not be tolerated in this class. I will rigorously investigate and pursue any such transgression.

Students with disabilities who need academic accommodation should:

Schedule of assignments, Spring 2010
The links in the Assignment column are to the simulations that we will discuss in class that day.
Many simulations will have background readings assigned from other sources which I will make available on MyTulane in due course.





ppt mp3


Jan 11 (M)

1 Introduction to the course   Powerpoint mp3  

13 (W)


Introduction to NetLogo

NetLogo User Manual: What is NetLogo? Sample Model: Party

Powerpoint mp3  

15 (F)


Models in NetLogo

NetLogo User Manual: Tutorial #1: Models - Wolf Sheep Predation

Powerpoint mp3  

18 (M)


MLK Birthday


20 (W)


Earth sciences: diffusion

NetLogoGreenHouse, Climate change,

Powerpoint mp3  

22 (F)


Biology: flocking, herding & schooling

Boids, Biology > Flocking

Powerpoint mp3  
25 (M) 6

Biology: from foraging to graph theory

Biology > Ants, AntSystem (errors), Earth Sciences > Fire

Powerpoint -- Q1

27 (W)

7 Biology: migration Social science > Scatter, Randomly walking (??), Programming Powerpoint mp3  

29 (F)

8 AI: navigation Path finder, Programming -- mp3  

Feb 1 (M)

9     -- --


3 (W)


Social science: traffic

Social science > Traffic basic, Traffic grid (Traffic simulation)

Powerpoint mp3  

5 (F)


Social science: individual vs. collective movement

Independence vs. mimetism

Powerpoint mp3  

8 (M)

12 Biology: communication
Epidemiology: spread of disease

Quorum sensing (skip)
Malaria control, Multiple-drug resistant tuberculosis, Biology > AIDS

-- mp3


10 (W)


Epidemiology: the SIR model

Disease in groups, Epidemic typhoid fever on disaster area,

Powerpoint mp3 Q3

12 (F)

14 Epidemiology: night of the living dead Zombie infection, Zombie infection 2, another Zombie infection 2 -- --  

15 (M)


Lundi Gras


17 (W)


Ecology: predator-prey models

Biology > Wolf-sheep predation, Wolf-sheep predation refuge, Curricular models > Urban suite > Pollution

Powerpoint mp3  

19 (F)


Ecology: predator-prey evolution

Bug hunt evolution (update errors), Community structure v4

-- mp3  

22 (M)


Biology: population genetics

PopGen fishbowl 1

-- mp3 Q4

24 (W)


Evolutionary biology: game theory 1

Evolutionary game theory Mayberry ESS

-- mp3  

26 (F)


Evolutionary biology: game theory 2

Evolutionary game theory big bird replicator dynamic

Powerpoint --  

Mar 1 (M)


Evolutionary biology: social factors

Sample models > Social science > Altruism, Divide the cake

-- mp3


3 (W)


Anthropology: agrarian societies

Sample models > Social science > Cooperation [Southern African Agrarian Humans Suite NA]

-- --

5 (F)


Anthropology: aggression & ethnocentrism

Ethnocentrism [Homo bellicus NA]

-- --

8 (M)

23 Anthropology: cultural dissemination Axelrodv2, -- mp3

10 (W)


Urbanism: why live in cities?

Brainstorm P6 [Urbanization MC (on web), Urban transition (won't update)

-- mp3  

12 (F)

25 Urbanism: clustering 1 Structure from randomness 1 and 2 -- --  

15 (M)


Urbanism: clustering 2


-- mp3


17 (W)


Urbanism: misc

Urban Suite > Structure from randomness, Social science > Segregation, Urban Suite > Path dependence, [Shopsim]

-- mp3 Q7

19 (F)

28 Urbanism: real example Urban Suite > Cells, Urban Suite > Tijuana Bordertowns -- mp3  

22 (M)

29 Economics: Urban Suite > Positive feedback, Sprawl effect, Awareness -- mp3


24 (W)

30 Economics: distribution of wealth Social Science > Wealth distribution, Urban Suite > Economic disparity -- mp3 Q8

26 (F)

31 Economics: rational agent model & banking   -- --  

29 (M)


Spring Break


31 (W)


Spring Break


Apr 2 (F)


Spring Break


5 (M)

32 Economics: customers & consumers        

7 (W)


Decision making: prisoner's dilemma

Social sciences > El Faro; SS > unverified > [Minority game], BankReserves, Cash flow


9 (F)


Decision making: negotiation

LogoMoth, Negotiations, consumerism project, [customerBehavior]


12 (M)


Organizational psychology

March, Miller,


14 (W)

36 Political science: civil violence, colonialism Rebellion, Colonialism,     Q10

16 (F)

37 Political science: voting Voting, Voting - network knowledge, Voting - network vote choice    

19 (M)

38 Political science: international environmentalism Cooperative countries,      

21 (W)


Communications: spread of rumors & innovation

Rumor, Innovation


23 (F)

40 Linguistics Language change,      

26 (M)

41 Last quiz, party       Q11

30 (F)



Present projects      

left-pointing hand Go back to Harry Howard's home page

Inception: 26-Sept-09. Last revision: April 9, 2010 . HH