Next Training Courses at the University of Pretoria

This is to announce a training session on multi-agent systems and modelling, which
will take place at the University of Pretoria from October 13 to October 24 2003, on a
part-time basis (8:30 - 13:00).

It is organised by CIRAD and the University of Pretoria, with the financial support of the
Embassy of France in South Africa.

All people contacted at this stage are kindly requested to distribute this information to any
person potentially interested in attending. Enquiries and registration applications must be sent to:

Dr. Sylvain Perret
Associate Professor, University of Pretoria
Department of Agricultural Economics,
Extension & Rural Development
Pretoria 0002, South Africa
tel. +27 12 420 5021
fax + 27 12 420 4958 / 5001

About MAS:

Multi-agent systems form powerful tools to investigate interactions between societies and their economic and natural environment. They also catter for scaling and spatial issues relating to these interactions.
The development of MAS approach is closely related to the problem of complexity (multiple spatial and organizational levels, multiple social, economic and natural agents, and multiple viewpoints). It also refers to the search for simple representations of the real world through modeling.
Natural resource management is one specific possible application of MAS, which help identifying the conditions for co-viability of resources and of socio-economic dynamics. That is why the training session will emphasize those interactions, although not

For more information on multi agent systems and modelling, just click on the following link

Who should attend ?

Post graduate students, research and development staff, in the fields of natural resource use and management, with either economic, social, agricultural or environmental emphasis. Beyond an advanced computer literacy (as a minimum requirement), some modelling habilities may help. Above all, a real interest in the research field is required.

Scheduling and contents

October 13 – 24, 2003

Monday 13

Tuesday 14

Wednesday 15

Thursday 16

Friday 17

08:30 am

10:30 am


FishBanks Roles Game

Introduction  to “object” concepts and to UML

Introduction to MAS

More about MAS

UML (2)

Dynamics aspects

11:00 pm

13:00 pm

FishBanks (continuing)

UML (1)

Static aspects

Introduction to the Object-Oriented Programming Language SmallTalk

Practice on Cormas (1)

Cellular automata : Forest fire

Practice on Cormas (2)

Agents’ perception : Individualistic Firemen

Monday 20

Tuesday 21

Wednesday 22

Thursday 23

Friday 24

08:30 am

10:30 am

Practice on Cormas (3)

Agents’ communication: Coordinated Firemen

MAS and Integrated Natural Resources management:


The interplay between MAS and Roles-Playing Games

Personal projects

Report back session on personal projects

11:00 pm

13:00 pm

Personal projects

Personal projects

Personal projects

Personal projects


As shown in the schedule, emphasis will be put first on the understanding of complexity in the interactions between human societies and their environment, with social and economic aspects, such complexity being seen as a topic for investigation, and second, on the learning then application of a specific modeling and simulation methodology (the Cormas platform).
Participants are expected to deliver a simple yet coherent personal project (model) at the end of the session. Numerous case studies will be presented and discussed during the course.

Organisational aspects

Three trainers from France (Dr. Christophe Le Page & Pierre Bommel, CIRAD) and from South Africa (Louise Erasmus, University of Stellenbosch) will manage the course and practicals.
Dr. Sylvain Perret from CIRAD and the University of Pretoria is organising the session, and should be contacted on all practical / organisational aspects. We expect to accommodate 15 to 20 participants.

The session benefits from a sponsorship by the Embassy of France in South Africa (Cooperation and Cultural Service).
It is aimed at training and building capacity among academics and students in South Africa, especially from historically disadvantaged communities, yet with no exclusiveness. The programme intend to fully sponsor the participation of some participants with such background (local travel costs, accommodation, meals).
Other participants will only enjoy a free training session. All other costs, including travel, accommodation, and living costs, will remain theirs.
Please contact Sylvain Perret for further enquiries on that matter.

We have already recorded a number of local and international applications. So this is going to be a fairly global session, with lots of discussions and potential partnerships to be set up ! This also means that any interested person should apply shortly, since places are limited !

Where ?

This introductory session will be held within the Leadership Center. On the map bellow, it is called "training center", within the "economic and management sciences" building. Some other sessions will be held within the old agricultural library. It's the "u" shaped building just besides the "Agricultural sciences" building.

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