Modelling of Complex Systems

Module code: NS4002

This module introduces the ideas of Complex Systems through the use of NetLogo programming of Agent-Based Models (ABM).

A complex system is one in which simple rules for the interaction of the agents leads to emergent behaviour, that is, collective behaviour of the system as a whole which is not attributable to individual agents separately. Agent-Based Modelling is an increasingly important approach to modelling physical, biological, social and economic systems allowing a heterogeneous collection of objects (agents) to interact in an adaptive manner.

Topics Covered

  • The role of agent based models (ABM) as applied to complex systems
  • Examples of ABMs
  • Cellular automata, the Wolfram classes and the rulles for the Game of Life
  • Agents, emergence, phases, control and order parameters
  • Small world networks, random networks and scale free networks
  • The differences between various networks
  • The prevalence of power law distributions in complex systems
  • The Isling model
  • The Landau theory


  • 12 hours of seminars
  • 138 hours of guided independent study


  • Coursework (100%)