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Unit of study_

OLET2314: Complexity: Agent-based Modelling

Complex systems, such as modern smart cities, infrastructure, power and data grids, bio- and ecosystems, are composed of numerous diverse interacting parts, making them susceptible to unexpected, large-scale, and apparently uncontrollable behaviours. This unit will develop an awareness of the complex nature of systems around and within us, with the view to develop and expand the expertise in computational modelling and policy development for crisis forecasting and management. It will define and explore core concepts that describe system dynamics in terms of how individual components interact locally to generate global system properties. This OLE will require an estimated 50 hours of course learning content, practical formative exercises and assessments. Graduates of this unit are expected to develop critical reasoning, depth of disciplinary expertise, interdisciplinary effectiveness/expertise and broader skills.


Academic unit Civil Engineering
Unit code OLET2314
Unit name Complexity: Agent-based Modelling
Session, year
Intensive April, 2021
Attendance mode Online
Location Camperdown/Darlington, Sydney
Credit points 2

Enrolment rules

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff and contact details

Coordinator Mikhail Prokopenko,
Lecturer(s) Adam Svahn ,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Assignment Extending forest fire model
Building on the forest fire model encountered in topic 7.
45% Multiple weeks At the student's own pace.
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO5
Assignment Report on extended epidemic model
Extending and evaluating the epidemic model encountered in topic 10.
30% Multiple weeks At the student's own pace.
Outcomes assessed: LO2 LO4 LO5
Skills-based evaluation Introduction to complex systems and ABM quiz
Multiple choice quiz. Weight 25%
25% Week 02
Due date: 02 Apr 2021 at 23:59
At the student's own pace
Outcomes assessed: LO3 LO1

The assessment protocol will consist of three assignments (25%, 45%, and 30% respectively). Assignment 1 is a quiz.

Assignment 2 will include assessment on basic computing content and the final assignment will be a calculation based assessment akin to an examination to be attempted individually but completed before a deadline.

The university has authorised and mandated the use of text based similarity detecting software TURNITIN for all text based written

Assessment criteria

Final grades in this unit are awarded at levels of HD for High Distinction, DI (previously D) for Distinction, CR for Credit, PS (previously P) for Pass and FA (previously F) for Fail as defined by University of Sydney Assessment Policy. Details of the Assessment Policy are available on the Policies website at . Standards for grades in individual assessment tasks and the summative method for obtaining afinal mark in the unit will be set out in a marking guide supplied by the unit coordinator.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

Special consideration

If you experience short-term circumstances beyond your control, such as illness, injury or misadventure or if you have essential commitments which impact your preparation or performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Multiple weeks Introduction to complex systems and collective behaviour. Independent study (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4
Introduction to agent-based modelling and the NetLogo ABM tool. Independent study (5 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5
Modelling complex systems with NetLogo and evaluating the outcomes. Independent study (42 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 2 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 40-50 hours of student effort in total.

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University’s graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Exemplify the complex nature of systems
  • LO2. Use elementary critical analysis skills
  • LO3. Exemplify and explain the concepts of emergent behavior
  • LO4. Exemplify structural and functional criteria within given domains and contexts using complex systems approaches
  • LO5. Understand and apply the methods and tools required to analyse and evaluate systems

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities
This is the first time this unit has been offered


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