SIMULATION MODELS FOR
ECONOMICS

Pietro Terna

The course introduces a selection of computer
programs useful in doing numerical and symbolic calculations in economics and
finance; a special attention is devoted to the construction of agent-based
models, as a new way to build models, applying a rigorous formalism in a high
flexibility perspective.

Program

The course
will cover the following topics:

1)
Tools
for symbolic and numerical calculations in economics:

a)
basic
programming in Python (http://www.python.org), with Numpy (http://www.numpy.org)
and R (http://www.r-project.org),
for calculus development and simulation model building;

b)
advanced
calculation tools, symbolic and numeric, with Octave (http://www.gnu.org/software/octave),
Scilab (http://www.scilab.org) e Maxima (http://maxima.sourceforge.net).

2)
Simulation
tools to build agent-based models, with interacting and learning agents:

a)
tools
and algorithms useful in agent construction: fixed rules, neural networks, classifier
systems, genetic algorithms, reinforcement learning;

b)
construction
of agent based-models to study complexity and emergence in social and economic
phenomena, with: NetLogo (http://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo);
StarLogo TNG (http://education.mit.edu/starlogo-tng/); SLAPP, Swarm-Like Agent Protocol
in Python (http://eco83.econ.unito.it/terna/slapp/).

**Expected learning results**

*Knowledge and understanding. *

The course will provide students with the ability
of building, with advanced computer techniques, numerical and simulation models
of the social and economic reality.

*Applying knowledge and understanding.*

During the course, students will learn how to
use directly the above mentioned tools to reproduce and understand reality via
computerized artifacts.

*Making judgements.*

The students will become familiar with the
process of choosing and formalizing the contents of a simulation model, to
reproduce reality.

*Communication skills. *

Students will learn how to effectively
organize ideas both in written and oral form, possibly with the help of
presentation of the results of their projects during the course.

*Learning skills. *

The course will enable students to apply state
of the art tools in computer programming for economic simulation and calculus.

Other
information

The examination will be based on the
preparation and discussion of a project work on economic simulation via agent-based
models.

Text
books

The course
is not based on a textbook. For most topics, lecture notes will be circulated;
moreover, for each topic, a set of readings and presentations will be provided.
All the material will
be on line, organized via a conceptual map, using CMapTools (http://cmap.ihmc.us/).