The use of models

Abstract
The use of MABS (Multi-Agent Based Simulations) is analysed as the modelling of distributed (usually social) systems using MAS as the model structure. It is argued that rarely is direct modelling of target systems attempted but rather an abstraction of the target systems is modelled and insights gained about the abstraction then applied back to the target systems. The MABS modelling process is divided into six steps: abstraction, design, inference, analysis, interpretation and application. Some types of MABS papers are characterised in terms of the steps they focus on and some criteria for good MABS formulated in terms of the soundness with which the steps are established. Finally some practical proposals that might improve the informativeness of the field are suggested.
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