Sunday, October 18, 2015: 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM
Mills Studio 8 (Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch)
Course Director:

Course Faculty:

Course Type: Half Day
Course Level: Intermediate

Overview: This course will introduce agent-based models (ABMs). The course consists of a didactic session covering basics of ABMs, advantages and disadvantages of ABMs in comparison to other modeling techniques, and applications of ABMs in health care as well as a hands-on session on building ABMs using the latest version of NetLogo.

Background: Agent-based modeling is a relatively new technique that overcomes the limitations of other commonly used modeling methods for medical decision-making. The ISPOR-SMDM Modeling Good Research Practices Task Force recommends the use of agent-based modeling approach when stochastic effects, complex interactions between behavior and disease, or distinctly non-random mixing patterns are important. Agent-based models (ABMs) are capable of measuring the direct and indirect effects that may arise from communicable disease control interventions. Applications of ABMs include estimating the change in disease transmission rates over time, economic evaluations of infectious disease control interventions, and geographic spread of infectious diseases. This course will cover the basics of ABMs, areas of applications, and a hands-on tutorial on building ABMs using NetLogo. NetLogo is a freely available and easy to implement modeling platform, and has extensive libraries and documentation to aid model building.

Format Requirements: This course consists of a didactic session covering basics of ABMs as well as a hands-on session on building ABMs. Previous knowledge of a programming language is not required but could be helpful. Participants are recommended to bring a Windows/Mac/Linux-based computer with the latest version of NetLogo installed.

Description and Objectives: This course is divided into five modules covering the following topics:

Module 1: Introduction to agent-based modeling

  • Understand the concepts of the agent-based modeling
  • Determine when and why to use ABMs and how they are different from other models.

Module 2: Introduction to NetLogo software

  • Learn NetLogo modeling platform
  • Build first ABM model with NetLogo (hands-on-exercise)

Module 3: Building ABMs using NetLogo

  • Build a simple ABM model to simulate disease spread
  • Analyze and present results using NetLogo—disease predictions and cost-effectiveness analysis, etc.

Module 4: Applications of ABMs in health care

  • Become familiar with different applications of ABM

Module 5: Advanced topics in agent-based modeling

  • Know the advantages and disadvantages of ABMs in comparison to other modeling techniques (state-transition, discrete-event simulation, mathematical dynamic models).
  • Understand the challenges of ABMs – date needs, calibration, validation, probabilistic sensitivity analysis, etc. 
Course Director:

Oguzhan Alagoz, PhD
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Assistant Professor
Industrial and Systems Engineering

Course Faculty:

Jagpreet Chhatwal, PhD
MGH Institute for Technology Assessment and Harvard Medical School
Assistant Professor
Department of Health Policy & Management