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A Family of Languages for Trustworthy Agent-Based Simulation

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paper

Steffen Zschaler, Fiona Polack

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication13th International Conference on Software Language Engineering (SLE'2020)
Accepted/In press9 Sep 2020


  • camera_ready.2020.10.09

    camera_ready.2020.10.09.pdf, 771 KB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:12 Oct 2020

    Version:Accepted author manuscript

King's Authors


Simulation is a key tool for understanding complex system behaviour. Agent-based simulation has been applied across domains from biology to health, economics, and urban sciences (and, recently, in relation to COVID-19 modelling). However, engineering robust, efficient, maintainable, and reliable agent-based simulations is challenging. We present a vision for engineering agent simulations using a family of domain-specific languages integrating not only core software engineering but also validation (fitness for purpose) and simulation experiments. We relate the vision to existing principled simulation examples, to show how the DSMLs would improve the robustness, efficiency, and maintainability of simulations. Focusing on how to demonstrate the fitness for purpose of a simulator, the envisaged approach also supports transparency and traceability from the original domain understanding to the simulation implementation and back to interpretation of results and evaluation of hypotheses.

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