Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Virtual reality and agent-based models

Computer simulations such as agent-based models are powerful tools for understanding the behavior of complex systems and what contributes to results and outcomes. An ABM models actional and interactions of either individuals or groups, so called agents.
It is important to feed agent based models with high-quality data and to adjust models based on real-world observations. Immersive technologies such as Virtual Reality offer opportunities to collect data of human behavior in various situations to calibrate ABM models.
We are in the fortunate position that we have several virtual environments that provide a basis for thinking about data that can be collected to improve ABM.

Immersive technologies such as augmented and virtual reality, are entering a new era. Thanks to substantial investments by leading companies (e.g., Facebook(™), Microsoft(™), and Google(™)) catapulting immersive media into the mainstream, that is, they are affordable and seldom cause cybersickness anymore. At the same time, the creation and the design of immersive experiences are getting easier and easier and accessible to many more people. Tools such as Unity(™) or Unreal(™), that is, game engines, are sophisticated and well-supported development environments.

Relevance to research/projects

This is an exploratory project that will make use of evolving projects. These project are collaborations of GRS with WANDER and other chairgroups at WUR.


  • Contribute to a state of the art review of immersive technologies and their synergies with agent-based models.
  • Develop a proof-of-concept application for advancing ABM through data collected in XR.

The above stated objectives will be worked out through a (simple) case study in which we collect actions and reactions of people interacting with a VR scene representing ….. to be translated into an ABM. The study focuses mainly on developing a method to collect meaningful (behavior) data suitable to be formalized into an ABM .


  • Interest in technology
  • Interest in human behavior

Theme(s): Modelling & visualisation; Human – space interaction