Computer simulation is spreading in the field of scientific research. In sociology, too, there are important applications. Some different techniques of simulation have developed: system dynamics, multiagent systems, cellular automata, and genetic algorithms. This article analyzes howeach type of technique has been applied in sociology and how it is strictly linked to theoretical propositions that characterize each sociological approach. The introduction of computer simulation poses a question: Which contribution does it bring to the process of sociological research? This article aims to answer that question by examining the functions that simulation can carry out in the studies of sociologists.
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