USP staff and students undertake two-day training on Agent-based Modelling


A two-day training session was organised by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) and hosted by Professor Arnaud Banos, Director of Research from CNRS (France National Research Centre) for staff and graduate students on “Modeling and simulating complex socio-environmental systems with NetLogo”

On the 15th and 16th of April 2024, 15 students gathered at USP Marine Campus to be introduced to the modelling of complex systems and agent-based programming with NetLogo.

The training aimed to help postgraduate students analyse the data collected during their fieldwork. For Mr Ricky Pana, a PaCE-SD Master’s student from the Solomon Islands, this training provided him invaluable knowledge on NetLogo fundamentals, theories, concepts, and their application. He highlighted, “As the world evolves, and new climate issues are surfacing, the need to integrate computer-based models such as the NetLogo Software plays a central role”.

The first day of training focused on theories and concepts before practical hands-on programming with staff and students using the software. The participants were invited to apply the theories by exploring simulations of natural and social interactions through statistics works and programming. Ms Ceceilia Carol Louis, a PaCE-SD Master’s student from Vanuatu, indicated that the use of equations required to use the software was what the participants needed to analyse their fieldwork data to evaluate their research objectives. She also added that “the training was very insightful and informative”.

Professor Arnaud Banos is a geographer specialising in the modelling of complex socio-environmental systems. He has offered this training worldwide (Australia, China, France, South Korea) to empower the skills of universities’ staff and students on the analysis and understanding of complex spatial systems.
He was spending one month at USP on secondment as part of the Family Farming, Lifestyle and Health (FALAH) Project, funded by the European Commission Horizon 2020 Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions and Research and Innovation Staff Exchange – RISE.

Dr Awnesh Singh, Acting Director of PaCE-SD, was happy to provide this opportunity not only to PaCE-SD staff and students but also to N-POC PhD Students and Master by Research scholarship students enrolled in other schools at USP, as NetLogo can be used across disciplines (sociology, economics, geography, GIS, ecology, etc.).

Understanding complex spatial systems remains challenging. Therefore, agent-based modelling occupies a central place and was instrumental for USP students to learn about an open-source, world-leading agent-based programming environment (NetLogo) for their research by conducting experiments, analysing data and producing robust results.

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