3D Print Technology for Cellular Agent-based Growth Models

Ken A. Hawick, Liam A. D. Stockwell, and Lee R. F. Odiam


3-dimensional modelling, simulation, agent-based modelling, manufacturing


Agent-based models (ABMs) continue to find uses for simulating many complex systems. Spatial or cellular ABMs are particularly useful when they contain a large number of simple microscopic agents. Visualising such many-component models remains challenging however and while 3D graphical rendering technologies can help considerably, sometimes being able to examine a physical model artifact is a better aid to understanding emergent model properties. Additive manufacturing techniques and platforms are becoming commercially affordable for routine use in 3d-printing model artifacts. We describe how an ABM such as the Eden growth model can generate complex 3D structures - effectively tumorous clusters - that can be 3d-printed as physical artifacts and which can be handled and examined directly. We describe some current 3d-print technologies, and the algorithms and software needed to 3d-print realisations of such simulation cellular models. We discuss the capabilities of present 3d-printing technologies and likely future directions of development, as well as what will be needed to make cellular model printing routine.

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