Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/7501
Applying Constructionist Design Methodology to Agent-Based Simulation Systems
One of the many benefits of agent-based modeling is the ability to develop modules in parallel, with teams focusing on isolated modules with well-defined interfaces. This also presents a challenge, however: Integrating a system with a large number of modules with complex interactions, developed by many people, is a significant challenge. Constructionist Design Methodology (CDM) is an approach for building highly modular systems of many interacting components. Originally proposed for use in artificial intelligence research, CDM’s strength lies in simplifying the modeling of complex, multifunctional systems that require architectural evolution of tangled data flow and control hierarchies. We have adapted CDM for the creation of agent-based simulations, resulting in a new version called CDM-S, and used it in the development of a family of agent-based market simulations where selected elements of an economy, including employees, companies, banks and consumers, are modeled at multiple levels of abstraction, from specific knowledge of single individuals to monolithic consumer groups. The systems have been built by a total of 15 Master’s students over a period of 10 weeks in two consecutive periods. Here we describe the CDM-S and present data on the application of the CDM-S in the construction process, detail the amount of time spent on selected tasks, and discuss future prospects for the approach. The results support prior conclusions that the approach is a powerful high-level design approach for developing systems with a large number of modules with complex interactions. Future improvements need to address the tendency of (inexperienced) teams to often fall back on known development practices, ignoring the principles of the methodology, and thus reducing the benefits of the approach.