Agent-based modelling

The agent-based modelling service is no longer available because Ken Kahn has been seconded to the eCraft2Learn project in the Education department.

Many phenomena can be understood as resulting from the interaction between heterogeneous individuals or agents e.g. ants foraging, people moving through crowds, viruses spreading through populations. Agent-based modelling is a technique for creating and analysing computer simulations of such systems. It is used in fields as varied as collective animal behaviour, political science, epidemiology, ecology, sociology, economics, transport studies and much more.

A model of the Spanish Flu Pandemic built in the Behaviour Composer

An agent-based model of the Spanish Flu Pandemic built in the Behaviour Composer

We provide agent-based modelling  (ABM) support for research, teaching, and outreach. Examples of projects we have contributed to include

Queen visits Oxford University Zoology department's exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science event

The Queen visits the Zoology Department’s exhibit at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition

  • building a model of the dynamics of religions based upon cognitive science research in collaboration with anthropologists
  • supporting oncology researchers in the construction of a model of cancer at both the genetic and cellular levels
  • supporting zoologists in constructing and hosting a Royal Society exhibit that included a web-based app for making epidemic games
  • running participatory research workshops with farming communities in Africa that included the building and trialling  of an ABM farming game in collaboration with an anthropology professor
  • collaborating with a political science professor in building a model of the burka ban in France
  • development of an interactive simulation of the Spanish Flu Pandemic for an Open Educational Resources World War I project
  • advising ABM projects in public health, zoology, economics, archaeology, tropical medicine, and philosophy

We are happy to

  • meet to discuss whether ABM might help in your research
  • consult on the design and construction of models
  • help co-author grant proposals
  • take responsibility for implementing work packages
  • help develop models
  • give a tailored presentation of ABM to your group or department
  • help design and run lab practicals
  • present bespoke courses
  • offer a variety of IT Learning Programme courses

To support both teaching and research we have developed, maintain, and support the Behaviour Composer, a web-based tool designed to support non-programmers in building open shareable modular agent-based models. We also support the local ABM community by organising termly get-togethers.

We are always happy to receive enquiries, please contact us at  or Ken or Howard directly:

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