Agent-based and
Individual-based Modeling:

A Practical Introduction

Book coverWelcome to our textbook on scientific agent-based (or “individual-based”) modeling of complex systems. The book is about designing models to solve specific problems of real systems, implementing models in NetLogo software (Wilensky, 1999), and analyzing models to develop theoretical understanding and predict system behaviors. Use the links above to learn about the book’s objectives and content, download supporting materials, learn about the authors, get more information about NetLogo and how we use it, find links to related materials, and learn how to contact the authors and provide feedback. Use the 1st edition link to download supporting materials (including instructor materials) for the first edition.


The book is available, in paper and e-book versions, through your local bookstore, its site at Princeton University Press, and on-line bookstores. If you are an instructor considering this book as a course text, please see this page at Princeton University Press for free preview materials. The second edition, released in 2019, includes hundreds of changes to improve clarity in challenging sections, use the newest version of NetLogo, update model development and analysis guidance with advances since 2012, provide new and more examples and exercises, and address many comments provided by users. The instructor materials are completely revised and expanded.

The book has been used at many universities. According to our publisher, this textbook has been adopted for courses at schools including: Amherst College, U. Arizona, Brigham Young, U. British Columbia, Carnegie Mellon, Columbia, Cornell, Duquesne, Emory, Free University of Berlin, Indiana, Johns Hopkins, Kokugakuin U. (Tokyo), Miami U., Michigan, Technical University of Munich, Northwestern, Old Dominion, Oregon, Portland State, Rhodes College, Qingdao University, U. South Florida, Susquehanna U., U. Texas-Austin, Tokyo U., University College Dublin, Valparaiso, and U. Virginia.

An on-line forum for instructors is available here, 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.

Short courses on modeling and NetLogo: We and colleagues have presented numerous short courses, starting in 2005. These included Dr. Uta Berger’s Dresden University of Technology summer school in individual- and agent-based modeling, and the Cal Poly Humboldt short course for instructors using our textbook. Neither of these courses are scheduled for 2023 or 2024.

Volker Grimm and Steve Railsback are tentatively scheduled to present a 2-day class entitled “Agent-based, individual-based, and ecological modeling for biological conservation” at the 2024 European Congress of Conservation Biology, in June, 2024. We will post information on this course here as it becomes available.

We also offer custom short courses for other organizations; contact us if you are interested in such a course.

Several other courses have come to our attention; we are not familiar enough with either to recommend who they might be most beneficial to but encourage you to consider them. They were presented in 2023 and may be again in the future. They are the European Social Simulation Assoc. Summer School and the BEHAVE Summer School in Brescia, Italy.

Class photo from 2020 Humboldt State agent-based modeling course

Our 2020 Humboldt State modeling class, with participants from 8 countries on 3 continents.

News & Updates

Review paper on identifying patterns for ecological IBMs

Students of the Uta Berger’s 2018 Summer School in Agent-based Modeling–Cara Gallagher, Magda Chudzinska, Angela Larsen-Gray, Christopher Pollock, Sarah Sells, and Patrick White–just published practical guidance on pattern-oriented modeling (POM) in ecology.

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