News Items for
Agent-Based Computational Economics (ACE)
- Prepared by:
- Department of Economics
- Iowa State University
- Ames, Iowa 50011-1070
- ACE Website Home Page:
Appended below are news items that might be of interest to researchers
interested in agent-based computational economics (ACE), the computational
study of economies modelled as evolving systems of autonomous interacting
agents. Items of more permanent interest will be incorporated at the ACE
ACE news items are posted at the ACE Website in batched html-document form
about once every two months during the regular academic year
(September-May). Whenever a new posting is made, a brief announcement
giving a pointer to this posting is emailed to all participants in a
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- David Klahr, Exploring Science, The MIT Press,
255pp., March 2002, ISBN: 0-262-11248-5.
- From the publisher: "In this book (David Klahr) sets out to
describe the cognitive and developmental processes that have enabled
scientists to make the discoveries that comprise the body of
information we call `scientific knowledge.' Over the past decade,
Klahr and his colleagues have conducted extensive laboratory
experiments in which they create discovery contexts, computer-based
environments to evoke the kind of thinking characteristic of
scientific discovery `in the real world.' In attempting to solve
the problems posed by the discovery tasks, experiment participants
(from preschoolers though university students, as well as
laypersons) use many of the same higher-order cognitive processes
used by practicing scientists. Through this work Klahr integrates
two disparate approaches - the content-based approach and the
process-based approach - to present a comprehensive model of the
psychology of scientific discovery."
- David Klahr is Professor of Psychology at Carnegie Mellon
- Alicia Juarrero, Dynamics in Action, The MIT Press,
300pp., March 2002, ISBN: 0-262-10081-0.
- From the publisher: "What is the difference between a wink and a
blink? The answer is important not only to philosophers of mind,
for significant moral and legal consequences rest on the distinction
between voluntary and involuntary behavior... Alicia Juarrero argues
that a mistaken, 350-year-old model of cause and explanation - one
that takes all causes to be of the push-pull, efficient cause sort,
and all explanations to be prooflike - underlies contemporary
theories of action. Juarrero proposes a new framework for
conceptualizing causes based on complex adaptive systems. Thinking
of causes as dynamical constraints makes bottom-up and top-down
causal relations, including those involving intentional causes,
suddenly tractable. A different logic for explaining actions - as
historical narrative, not inference - follows if one adopts this
novel approach to long-standing questions of action and
- Alicia Juarrero is Professor of Philosophy at Prince George's
Community College Maryland. She is also a member of the National
Council on the Humanities, the governing board of the National
Endowment for the Humanities.
- Anna Nagurney (ed.), Innovations in Financial and Economic
Networks, New Dimensions in Networks,
Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd, 322pp., 2003, ISBN: 1-843-76415-6.
- From the publisher: "Networks provide the foundations for the
functioning of our societies and economies. Their study has had a
long tradition in such fields as engineering, operations research,
management science and computer science. More recently, the
disciplines of finance and economics have come to be rich and
fascinating sources of network-based problems and applications.
This focused and refereed volume of contributions from leading
international scholars provides a wealth of innovations in the study
of financial and economic networks."
- Anna Nagurney is the John F. Smith Memorial Professor in the Isenberg
School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, U.S.A.
- Stephen J. DeCanio, Economic Models of Climate Change: A Critique,
Palgrave (Macmillan), 224pp., August 2003, ISBN: 1-4039-6336-3 (paperback).
- From the publisher: "The climate policy debate has been dominated by
economic estimates of the costs of policies to reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. Yet the models used to derive those estimates are based on
assumptions that have largely gone untested. The conventional approach
embodies structural features that rule out alternative market outcomes and
possibilities for profitable energy-efficiency improvements in industry. The
models' characterizations of decision-making by individuals and firms is
seriously incomplete and in many cases inconsistent with the empirical
evidence. In addition, the pattern of distribution of `climate rights' is
crucial to determining the economic consequences of different ethical
approaches to the problem of intergenerational equity. Bringing these
considerations to the forefront shows how domestic and international policy
solutions might be found. DeCanio concludes that a much more active approach
to climate protection is justified."
- Stephen J. DeCanio is Professor of Economics at the University of
California, Santa Barbara.
- Avanish Dixit and Susan Skeath, Games of Strategy, W. W.
Norton & Company, 600pp., 1999, ISBN: 0-393-97421-9.
- From a review by Vince Crawford (Professor of Economics, UC San
Diego, CA): "The game-theoretic revolution of the past three decades
left in its wake formidable barriers to entry for those without
formal training in game theory. (This book) conveys a deep
understanding of game theory and its applications with almost all of
the accessibility and readability of my favorite book on game theory
for general audiences, Thinking Strategically by Avanish
Dixit and Barry Nalebuff (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1991).
The exposition assumes no prior familiarity with game theory or
economics, and it is mathematically elementary in that only
knowledge of algebra is assumed, supplemented with some optional
alternative arguments using calculus. This unusual combination of
strengths makes (this book) an ideal self-contained text for first-
and second-year or more advanced undergraduates; excellent
background reading for graduate students; and a good introduction
for general readers.... The introductory chapter is a tour de force
of motivating examples from economics, political science, sports,
and daily life."
- Avanish Dixit is John J. F. Sherrerd `52 University Professor of
Economics at Princeton University, NJ. Susan Skeath is Associate Professor
and Chair of the Department of Economics at Wellesley College, MA.
- Michael Luck, Peter McBurney, and Chris Preist (eds.), Agent
Technology: Enabling Next Generation Computing, AgentLink, 102pp.,
January 2003, ISBN: 0-854-32788-6.
- From Michael Luck (AgentLink Director): "This report describes the
current state-of-the-art of agent technologies and identifies trends and
challenges that will need to be addressed over the next 10 years to progress
the field and realise the benefits. It offers a roadmap that is the result
of discussions among participants from over 150 organisations including
universities, research institutions, large multinational corporations and
smaller IT start-up companies. The roadmap is a living document and will
continue to be developed over time, identifying successes and challenges, and
pointing to future possibilities and demands."
- Michael Luck is Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton,
UK. Peter McBurney is with the Department of Computer Science, University of
Liverpool, UK. Chris Preist is with Hewlett-Packard Company, Bristol, UK.
- Paul R. Cohen, Empirical Methods for Artificial
Intelligence, The MIT Press, 422pp., 1995, ISBN: 0-262-03225-2.
- From the publisher: "Computer science and artificial
intelligence in particular have no curriculum in research methods,
as other sciences do. This book presents empirical methods for
studying complex computer programs: exploratory tools to help find
patterns in data; experiment designs and hypothesis-testing tools to
help data speak convincingly; and modelling tools to help explain
data. Although many of these techniques are statistical, the book
discusses statistics in the context of the broader empirical
enterprise. ... Mathematical details are confined to appendices and
no prior knowledge of statistics or probability theory is assumed."
- Paul R. Cohen is a Professor in the Department of Computer
Science and a Director of the Experimental Knowledge Systems
Laboratory at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.
- Feng-hsiung Hsu, Behind Deep Blue, Princeton University
Press, 320pp., 2002, ISBN: 0-691-09065-3.
- From the publisher: "Written by the man who started the
adventure, (this book) reveals the inside story of what happened
behind the scenes at the two historic Deep Blue vs. Kasparov
matches. This is also the story behind the quest to create the
mother of all chess machines. The book unveils how a modest student
project eventually produced a multi-million dollar supercomputer,
from the development of the scientific ideas through technical
setbacks, rivalry in the race to develop the ultimate chess machine,
and wild controversies to the final triumph over the world's
greatest human player."
- Feng-hsiung Hsu is the founding father of the Deep Blue project.
He is currently a research scientist at the Western Research Lab of
Compaq Computer, Inc.
- Alex Roland and Philip Shiman, Strategic Computing, The
MIT Press, 440pp., June 2002, ISBN: 0-262-18226-2.
- From the publisher: "This is the story of an extraordinary
effort by the U. S. Department of Defense to hasten the advent of
`machines that think.' From 1983 to 1993, the Defense Advanced
Research Projects Agency (DARPA) spent an extra $1 billion on
computer research aimed at achieving artificial intelligence. The
Strategic Computing Initiative (SCI) was conceived as in integrated
plan to promote computer chip design and manufacture, computer
architecture, and artificial intelligence software. What
distinguished SCI from other large-scale technology programs was
that it self-consciously set out to advance an entire research
front... In (this book), Alex Roland and Philip Shiman uncover the
roles played in the SCI by technology, individuals, and social and
political forces. They explore DARPA culture, especially the
information processing culture within the agency, and they evaluate
the SCI's accomplishments and set them in the context of overall
computer development during this period."
- Alex Roland is Professor of History at Duke University. Philip
Shiman is a member of the Defense Acquisition History Project, a
government-sponsored team researching defense acquisition fro 1945
to the present.
- Artificial Societies and Social Simulation
- Issue No. 4 of Volume 6 of the refereed electronic Journal of
Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (JASSS), edited by Nigel
Gilbert (University of Surrey), was published on 31 October 2003. This issue
features four regular articles, six articles in a special section on
`model-to-model' analyses that focus on the importance of replications in
advancing social simulation, a Forum discussion of an open source system for
web-enabling economic and financial simulations, and three book reviews.
- JASSS is an electronic, refereed journal devoted to the exploration
and understanding of social processes by means of computer simulation. It is
freely available with no subscription. The new issue can be accessed through
the JASSS home page at
- Interaction Studies
- Interaction Studies: Social Behaviour and Communication in Biological
and Artificial Systems is published by John Benjamins Publishing Company.
Its Editors-in-Chief are Kerstin Dautenhahn (University of Hertfordshire,
United Kingdom) and Harold Gouzoules (Emory University, USA).
- From the publisher: "The journal aims to advance knowledge in the growing
and strongly interdisciplinary area of interaction studies in biological and
artificial systems. It intends to act as a medium for dialogues across the
boundaries of academic disciplines for research into social behaviour and
communication that has traditionally been presented in separate specialist
journals. ... The journal welcomes papers that analyze social behaviour in
humans and other animals as well as research into the design and synthesis of
robotic, software, virtual and other artificial systems, including
applications such as exploiting human-machine interactions for educational or
therapeutic purposes. Papers can be experimental, computational, or
theoretical studies and should highlight the contribution to knowledge of
social behaviour and communication in biological and artificial systems."
For more information, visit
Software and Hardware Announcements
- Enterprise Simulator (Swarm, Java)
- Pietro Terna (Economics, University of Torino, Italy) has released
version 0.9.9.0 of a Swarm-based Java Enterprise Simulator (jES). The
aim of jES is to permit the construction of simulation models for both actual
and virtual enterprises (firms). The simulator can model either a single
enterprise or a system of enterprises (e.g., within a district or within a
virtual enterprise system). The latest version of jES, together with
complete user instructions, can be downloaded at
- Simulation Framework for Heterogeneous Agents (Java)
- David Meyer and other researchers at the Vienna University of
Technology have developed a JAVA-based simulation toolkit allowing the
integration of interpreter-based agents (i.e., agents implemented in
high-level languages such as MATLAB or R) and the specification of XML-based
design plans. The framework also features facilities for inter-agent
communication and simulation with a dynamically evolving agent set. The
toolkit has been used for two projects: one project focusing on market
segmentation in artificial consumer markets; and a second project focusing on
"disruptive technologies." To date, the software has only been tested on
Linux platforms up. The software is available for downloading at
Meyer's thesis covering software description and applications can be
A technical report, describing only the software, is available at:
- Multi-Agent Simulator
- From the developers: "The Center for Social Complexity of George Mason
University is please to announce the release of MASON (Multi-Agent Simulator
Of Neighborhoods... or Networks... or something... ) as open source. Full
details and downloads are provided at:
MASON is a joint effort between George Mason University's ECLab (Evolutionary
Computation Laboratory) and the GMU Center for Social Complexity, and was
designed by Sean Luke, Gabriel Catalin Balan, and Liviu Panait, with help
from Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, Sean Paus, Daniel Kuebrich, and Keith Sullivan."
Research Groups and Sites
- Virtual Factory Tours
The Alliance for Innovative Manufacturing (AIM) at Stanford University
maintains a site titled How Everyday Things Are Made at
The site provides virtual factory tours covering the manufacturing processes
for over forty types of common products (cars, planes, chocolate, glass
bottles, etc.). These videos stress the extraordinary degree of coordination
among input suppliers, producers, and distributors required to bring to
market even seemingly simple products such as a jelly bean.
- Economics Web institute
- The Economics Web Institute is a growing hyper-text document maintained
by Valentino Piana (Italy) that integrates downloadable simulation models,
real data, and theoretical reflections. It's aim is to apply evolutionary
economics and agent-based computational economics approaches to standard
problems of microeconomics and macroeconomics. For more information, visit