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 Short course applications now being accepted. We are accepting applications for our annual short course for instructors interested in teaching using this book until April 8. The 2016 course will be July 18-22 at Humboldt State University.

  • New forum for instructors. We now have an on-line forum for instructors using this book, thanks to the QUBES project. At this web site you can see and contribute teaching resources, links to related materials, and announcements; and participate in mentoring sessions with the book's authors and others.

  • 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, Duquesne, Emory, Free University of Berlin, Indiana, Miami U., Michigan, Northwestern, Old Dominion, Oregon, Portland State, Qingdao University, 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 updated. 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. Errata and instructor materials were last updated 2 March and 10 August 2015. See the Downloads & Errata page.

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

    • Humboldt State instructors' course. Steve Railsback and Volker Grimm offer a one-week short course for professors and other instructors interested in developing classes on individual-based modeling using this book. In 2015 the course was in July at Humboldt State University, California. 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 2015 course was 9-17 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; a Member of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-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.