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Agent Based Modelling: Developing a pragmatic approach

Henry Leveson-Gower


1 Day Course

Course Date - 12th June 2019 / 10am-4pm

Course Price: £275.00

Course Location:

Westminster University, 35 Marleybone Road, London NW1 5LS


Agent based modelling has a long pedigree going back to the 1930s in physics. The use of agent-based modelling has been increasing at an exponential rate since, and in some fields, such as traffic, epidemiology and battlefield simulation, they are now the state of the art.

However economics has been slower to accept agent-based modelling. This has all changed in the last 10 years with interest in ABM greatly increased amongst economists, finance and policy-makers mainly due to the problems in conventional economic modelling highlighted by the 2008 financial crisis. The advent of big data and faster computers has also made their use more practical.

In the UK they have been used in diverse applications including exploring business strategies in the car industry, macro-economic risks from the buy to let sector, responses to foot and mouth outbreaks, regulation of water abstraction from the environment and promoting competition in the digital economy.

So what benefits and challenges might these types of models offer to decision makers and their advisors? How can their use be effectively developed in a pragmatic and effective manner? What applications are they best suited for?

This course will help you answer these questions and more so you can be better placed to advise on the use of ABMs and work effectively with technical modellers and users. The course is not designed to train you to be an agent based modeller but is designed to equip you to advise on using ABMs effectively as another tool in the economic armoury. The course is taught by Henry Leveson-Gower who has over 25 years of experience as a practising economist. He was the first economist in the UK Government to successfully use an agent based model to inform formal impact assessments. He has learnt the hard way about their benefits and challenges working with expert modellers and academics. He has advised Government Chief Economists on their use as well as a range of departments and other organisations. He avoids the hype and focuses on the delivery. The course will seek to engender a constructive two way dialogue with participants on how to effectively exploit the potential of ABMs and avoid the pitfalls.


Course programme


10:00 - 10:15 introductions and objectives

10:15 – 11:30 ABMs in context: where did they come from and how are they different.

11:30 – 11:45 coffee break

11:45 – 13:00 ABMs in practice: case studies illustrating how ABMs have been used, their benefits and challenges

13:00 – 13:30 Lunch

13:30 – 14:45 ABMs in experience: group model design exercise

14:45 – 15:00 coffee break

15:00 – 16:00 ABMs in your practice: Developing a bespoke strategy to using ABMs