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Pages 622-628
First published 30 July 2014

Easing Parameter Sensitivity Analysis of Netlogo Simulations using SPARTAN

Kieran Alden, Jon Timmis, and Mark Coles

Abstract (Excerpt)

In attempts to further understand complex systems at an individual level, the application of agent-based modeling is becoming prevalent across a range of academic disciplines. With the advantages of being multi-platform, requiring little programming experience, and supported by a large number of freely available case study examples, Netlogo has become a popular choice as the software tool to apply in the construction of agent-based models. To utilize the constructed model as an informative or predictive tool, statistical analyses can be performed to reveal the influence that a parameter has on simulation behavior, offering an insight into the system under study. Here we demonstrate the integration of Netlogo's parameter sweep function, Behavior Space, with an extended version of SPARTAN, our previously published open source statistical package for performing local and global sensitivity analyses. With the addition of SPARTAN, the researcher can automatically create Netlogo experiment files for both local (individual parameter) and global (latin-hypercube and Fourier frequency) analyses, run these experiments in Netlogo, and receive detailed statistical information on the influence a parameter has on simulation response: vital information for translating a simulation result to a hypothesis grounded in the system being studied. To ensure our example work is reproducible, we demonstrate use of SPARTAN using the Virus transmission and perpetuation model available in the Netlogo model library.