Begin: 2020 ABM Short Course

Course Name: Introduction to Spatial Agent-Based Modeling

When: July 13-17, 2020

Where: The National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC), Annapolis, Maryland

Important Dates:

Deadline for applications: April 20, 2020, 5 p.m. EST;

Notification of acceptance by May 4;

Registration fee due by May 20.

Course Summary: This 5-day short course will serve as an introduction to the theory and practice of spatially explicit agent-based modeling (ABM). You will learn the essential theoretical background and technical expertise needed to conceptualize, build, and analyze your first agent-based model. This course will guide you through the basic phases of the ABM research process: formulating a research question, specifying a model, creating a simulation, and interpreting the output. The course combines lectures with hands-on model-building sessions where you will build a model using NetLogo to acquire basic and intermediate programming skills. More advanced students are welcome to build a model in a programming language of their choice. This will be an intensive, week-long immersion in ABM concepts and methods with reading and short writing assignments each day, and a ‘final project’ consisting of a simple model and standardized documentation to be published in the OpenABM ( repository.

Target Audience: This course is intended as a foundational course for anyone interested in adding ABM to their analytical toolkit, regardless of prior modeling experience. Much of the course material and lessons will emphasize spatial ABM for understanding the dynamics and interdependencies of humans and natural systems (i.e., socio-environmental (S-E) systems). Applicants whose research or teaching focus on such topics will be given preference, but applicants with other areas of interest are also welcome. The course material will be structured for students with little to no experience with ABM and/or programming, but it could also be of interest to researchers/faculty with limited ABM experience. Target class size is 12-15, so space is limited.


ABM Theory

Model Development

Model Analysis

Costs: Registration fees are $100 for graduate students and postdocs and $250 for faculty and all others.* Financial assistance for the registration fee and/or flights and hotel costs for non-local participants is available in accordance with our travel policies, but requires a formal application demonstrating a clear need for assistance (see To Apply below). Applicants from developing countries or smaller academic institutions will be prioritized for assistance. Additional eligible travel expenses (e.g., meals and ground transportation) will be reimbursed for all attendees by SESYNC upon the completion and publishing of model code and description on OpenABM. All participants are expected to submit a completed model description by September 25, 2020. Please note that while ample time will be provided during the course for model-building, producing a working model and accompanying documentation is a time-consuming process, and completion will likely require additional time beyond the duration of the course.

If you are a course applicant, please enter your name and email address below and click "Begin". You will be directed to the application page and you will receive an email with a link to access your application at any time. Save this email as it contains a link to your application. If you delete or lose this email, please follow this link to retrieve your application.

For questions, please contact Dr. Nicholas Magliocca (, Instructor and Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Alabama.

* Cancellation with full refund of registration fee is possible until June 10, 2020. Cancellations after this date will not receive a refund.