Agent-based and Individual-based Modeling: A Practical Introduction


Welcome to the web site for Agent-based and Individual-based Modeling: A Practical Introduction. This is a textbook on scientific applications of agent-based (or "individual-based"; we use the terms synonymously) modeling to study complex systems. It is intended for classes at upper-undergraduate or higher levels, and for self-instruction by students and scientists.

Our book uses Wilensky's NetLogo software (Wilensky, 1999) as the platform for building and analyzing models. This is not just a book on NetLogo, but a book on scientific modeling that includes learning to use NetLogo software.

The book is now available through your local bookstore, its site at Princeton University Press, and on-line bookstores. You can view the Table of Contents, download Chapter 1 (PDF), and see a list of reviews and endorsements at its site at Princeton University Press.


  • Book cover Course adoptions. According to our publisher, this textbook has already been adopted for courses at schools including: Amherst College, U. Arizona, Brigham Young, U. British Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Emory, Free University of Berlin, Indiana, Miami U., Michigan, Northwestern, Old Dominion, Portland State, U. South Florida, Susquehanna U., U. Texas-Austin, University College Dublin, and U. Virginia.

  • Preview materials. If you are an instructor considering this book as a course text, please see its site at Princeton University Press for free preview materials.

  • Supporting materials. Supporting materials mentioned in the book (example codes, model descriptions, data files, etc.) are available, and a few minor mistakes have been corrected. Additional materials are available for instructors. See the Downloads & Errata page.

  • Short-courses on teaching individual- and agent-based modeling.

    • APPLICATIONS NOW BEING ACCEPTED: Humboldt State instructors' course. Steve Railsback and Volker Grimm will offer their short course for professors and other instructors interested in developing classes on individual-based modeling again in 2014. This year the course is scheduled to accommodate European academics: it will be September 15-19, 2014, in Leipzig, Germany. Information is at the course web site.
    • Dresden University of Technology summer school in individual- and agent-based modeling. For many years, Uta Berger has organized summer short courses designed primarily for graduate students interested in using agent-based modeling in their research. The 2014 course is scheduled for 10-18 July, in the delightful village of Holzhau, Germany. See the course web site for more information.
    • We occasionally teach short courses when invited. Please contact us if you are interested in hosting a course.
  • Additional books. Several other new books address agent- and individual-based modeling in NetLogo and could be useful for instructors or scientists teaching themselves. See the feedback and links page for more information and links to these books.


Steven F. Railsback is an adjunct professor in the mathematical modeling graduate program at Humboldt State University and a consulting environmental engineer and ecologist in Arcata, California.

Volker Grimm is a senior scientist in the Department of Ecological Modeling, Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research, Leipzig; and professor at the University of Potsdam, Germany.

Authors Steve Railsback and Volker Grimm


Download link

Follow this link to download supporting materials mentioned in the text, or the errata.