First experiments with NetLogo

Han Oostdijk


Being interested (on amateur level) in both archaeology and simulations, it was just a matter of time to run into the multi-agent programmable modeling environment NetLogo that is authored by Uri Wilensky and developed at the Northwestern’s Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling CCL. The direct reason was the announcement of the online course Modelling and Simulation in Archaeology by Fulco Scherjon (Leiden University), Iza Romanowska (Barcelona Supercomputing Center) and Karsten Lambers (Leiden University).

From the NetLogo website two versions are (freely) available: a desk-top version and a web version. I have little experience with the web version. When I tried to run a desk-top model that use the table extension, I got a message that extensions are not (yet) supported in the web version. However an earlier model without this extension could be uploaded and ran without problems and even with some performance in the web version.

A very important feature of NetLogo is the extended set of models that can be run in NetLogo web in the browser but is also directly available in the desk-top version.

Here I describe my experiments with the cellular automaton called The Game of Life. I used the NetLogo implementation NetLogo Life by Uri Wilensky of CCL as a starting point. I loaded the model in the NetLogo desk-top and saved it under a different name. This copies both the code, the user interface and the information so that I can freely experiment with this model.

Changes made to the Uri’s model

Adapted interface

In the image below I show the new interface. In the red box I indicate the rng_seed input box and mean age output box that were added to the original interface. I also show the pattern produced after pressing the setup-random button:

Resulting behaviour

In the following picture I show the first 19 'ticks' of the simulation (for which the display speed was set to slower than normal). The screen capture was done with the open source Windows program ScreenToGif (source on GitHub ).


Full code for model

The full code for this model can be retrieved with the download link.