Posted by: | March 21, 2009 | Comments Off on NetLogo

I’m checking out NetLogo, from Northwestern university.

It’s free software that allows you to do simple programming that can result in startlingly complex visual models. The creators call it “a cross-platform multi-agent programmable modeling environment.”

It somewhat reminds me of the The Game of Life, which you can play in Mathematica from Wolfram Software. That’s a cellular automaton game, but NetLogo, while rules-based seems capable of much more complexity.

A fairly simple example is Follower, in which turtles must follow other turtles. There are only 4 possible states in this example:

– Unattached
– Following another turtle (a “tail”)
– Being followed by another turtle (a “head”)
– Following and being followed by other turtles (a “body” segment)

A more complex example is Mimicry, an evolution model in which butterflies are eaten by birds preferentially based on color – a signal for good or bad food – and reproduce differentially based on population size, mutation, and other factors.

Very interesting!


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