Archetypical Patterns in Agent-Based Models

Gert Jan Hofstede*, Emile Chappin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademicpeer-review


Complex systems produce recognizable self-organized patterns across time. This conceptual paper consists of a systematic reflection on what kinds of archetypical patterns systems can show, and in what kinds of cases these patterns could occur. Agent-based models are used to exemplify each pattern. We present a classification of the breadth of typical patterns that agent-based models can show when one runs them. The patterns fall into three categories: resource use, contagion, and output patterns. These are pattern archetypes; most real-world systems, and also most models, could and will show combinations of the patterns. In real systems, the patterns will occur as phases and building blocks of developments. These are patterns frequently occurring in real-world systems. The classification is the first of its kind. It provides a way of thinking and a language to non-mathematicians. This classification should be beneficial to those researchers who are familiar with a real-world pattern in their discipline of interest, and try to get a grasp of pattern causation. It can also serve in education, for giving students from a variety of disciplines an idea of the possibilities of agent-based models.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAdvances in Social Simulation - Proceedings of the 15th Social Simulation Conference, 2019
EditorsPetra Ahrweiler, Martin Neumann
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9783030615024
Publication statusPublished - 2021
Event15th Social Simulation Conference, SSC 2019 - Mainz, Germany
Duration: 23 Sept 201927 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameSpringer Proceedings in Complexity
ISSN (Print)2213-8684
ISSN (Electronic)2213-8692


Conference15th Social Simulation Conference, SSC 2019


  • Agent-based model
  • Fixes that fail
  • Pattern
  • Power law
  • Tipping point
  • Tragedy of the commons


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