Evolution of StarLogoT after the TUfts Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling moved to Northwestern University
Historically, NetLogo is the next generation of the series of multi-agent modeling languages including StarLogo [Resnick & Wilensky, 1993] [Resnick, 1994].
NetLogo is a standalone application written in Java so it can run on all major computing platforms. After five years of development, NetLogo is a mature product that is stable and fast. It is freeware: anyone can download it for free and build models without restriction. It comes with extensive documentation and tutorials and a large collection of sample models.
As a language, NetLogo is a member of the Lisp family that supports agents and concurrency. Mobile agents called "turtles" move over a grid of "patches," which are also programmable agents. All of the agents can interact with each other and perform multiple tasks concurrently.
NetLogo originates in a blend of StarLisp [Lasser & Omohundro, 1986] and Logo [Papert, 1980] (itself a member of the Lisp family). From Logo, it inherits the "turtle." In traditional Logo, the programmer controls a single turtle; a NetLogo model can have thousands of them. NetLogo also follows Logo?s philosophy of ease of use, providing a "low threshold" of entry for new users. From StarLisp, a parallel Lisp of the 1980?s, it inherits multiple agents and concurrency.
NetLogo?s current design is based on our experience with our earlier environment, StarLogoT [Wilensky, 1997]. We redesigned both the language and the user interface. NetLogo includes almost all of StarLogoT?s features and many new ones. Many of the new features of NetLogo are aimed at research users.
NetLogo has been under development since 1999. Version 2.0.1 (May 2003) is mature, stable, and reliable. Even though our user base has expanded, the rate of incoming bug reports has slowed to a trickle. Models now run much faster than in earlier versions: our users now find it fast enough for most purposes.