Peter McBurney is Professor of Computer Science and Head of the Planning, Agents, and Intelligent Systems (PAIS) Group in the Department of Informatics at King’s College London. His research focus is on theoretical and applied aspects of agent-based modeling and simulation, cyber security, and multi-agent software systems, particularly agent communications languages and argumentation. He is co-editor-in-chief of the journal, The Knowledge Engineering Review, and was founder and initial gamemaster for the CAT Market Design Tournament, a crowd-sourced research tournament in computational economics. Earlier in his career, McBurney co-founded a telecommunications marketing consultancy company, which provided advice to the world’s leading telecommunications and information technology companies on market planning, market modeling and strategic business programming.
Title: What are models for?
Despite the growing popularity of agent-based modeling across the sciences, the social sciences, and in policy domains, domain experts and users only rarely consider what these models are for. Indeed, the same is true for modeling in general; most model-users seem to take the purpose(s) of modeling for granted, and thus not needing any discussion. However, models and modeling activities typically have multiple stakeholders, who often have different and sometimes conflicting purposes in mind. In this talk, I will consider some of the different potential reasons that models are created and used, both in general and for agent-based models in particular. I will explore some of the implications of these different intended purposes, and I will argue for making explicit the stakeholders and goals of modeling activities prior to modeling.