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The ODD Protocol was proposed by Volker Grimm et al. (2006) because:

Simulation models that describe autonomous individual organisms (individual based models, IBM) or agents (agent-based models, ABM) have become a widely used tool, not only in ecology, but also in many other disciplines dealing with complex systems made up of autonomous entities. However, there is no standard protocol for describing such simulation models, which can make them difficult to understand and to duplicate.

(Grimm, V. et al., 2006, p.115)

The ODD is organized around the three main components to be documented about a model: Overview, Design concepts, and Details. These components encompass seven subelements that must be documented in sufficient depth for the model’s purpose and design to be clear and replicable for a third party: Purpose, State Variables and Scales, Process Overview and Scheduling, Design Concepts, Initialization, Input, and Submodels.

In addition to the original 2006 publication, Grimm et al. have continued to publish updates to the protocol with examples of its application to research projects:


August 2009: Update of ODD protrocol (manuscript)


We just (August 2009) submitted an updated description of the ODD protocol to “Ecological Modelling”. This manuscript is available at:

ODD did not change very much, but we completely rewrote (and hopefully improved) its description, including some changes that should make ODD easier to use by modelers from social sciences.

Although the ms might of course still change a lot during the review process, we thought it would be good to make it available as soon as possible, so that ODD users can take advantage of the improved description.


Emerging textbook(s) on individual- and agent-based modeling

Dear colleagues,

Steve Railsback and I are preparing a textbook on individual- and agent-based modeling, and I would like to point you to its new web site:

We are still writing, but drafts of most chapters (and supporting materials) are now available for people like you to look at, use, and provide feedback to us on.

The book is designed to support a college class, even if the instructor has little experience with IBMs, and people teaching themselves. It is primarily about scientific modeling but also teaches programming with the NetLogo platform.

You should also be aware that Uri Wilensky (who runs the NetLogo project) and William Rand are also preparing a textbook; they expect it to be published next year. (We have not seen it yet.)


Volker Grimm