Agent-based Modeling and Simulation of Organizations and Work Practice
This course is an introduction to modeling and simulation of human behavior and work practices of people in organizations. Most methods for modeling organizations focus on the process or functional levels of the work. However, in the past decade social scientists and computer scientists involved in social informatics and human-centered design have argued that, if we want to develop better business processes and usable information systems, we need to understand the 'living work practice' of the people in an organization. In this course you will learn what 'work practice' is and how it can be observed, modeled and simulated. We will look at how to observe and model organizations at the work practice level for the analysis of business processes and the design of information systems. The course will start with discussing the theoretical underpinnings. The class readings and lectures will review the literature, but a significant part of the class and its labs will be devoted to learning the Brahms multiagent modeling language. Brahms is a tool developed at NASA for modeling and simulating organizations and work practices, as wells as developing intelligent agent systems.