TITLE: "JAS: a new platform for modular agent-based and microsimulation modelling".


JAS is a new open-source, object-oriented Java-based platform for discrete-event simulations which integrates tools for agent-based and dynamic microsimulation modelling, coherently with a trend of convergence of the two approaches.

JAS builds on the idea that a simulations are data structures which evolve through time according to predefined rules and parameters and it has built-in utilities for communicating with an underlying relational database. In addition, the platform provides standard tools which are frequently used both in agent-based modelling and dynamic microsimulations, like design of experiments (DOE), run-time monitoring and visualization with plots and graphs (GUI), I/O communication, statistical analysis, etc.

The main value added of the platform, however, is to give the researcher a guide / template on how to structure a generic simulation model. The philosophy of JAS is always to favour clarity, transparency and flexibility. The rationale behind this is the belief that the real bottleneck in agent-based and dynamic microsimulation modelling comes from humans, rather than machines: minimizing modelling time then becomes more important than minimizing computing time.

These objectives are achieved by:
1) using more transparent, better organized and better documented functions, and
2) adhering to a strict modelling discipline that maintains the separation between things that are conceptually separate. In particular, JAS favours the separation of data representation and management, which is automatically taken care of by the simulation engine, from the implementation of processes and behavioural algorithms, which should be the primary concern of the modeller. This results in quicker, more robust and more transparent model building, simplifying modular development and subsequent extensions and modifications.

Tea & cake available from 3pm, talk starts at 3.15pm for 30 minutes to then be followed by discussion.