Bruce Edmonds's blog
As in so many other areas, computer-based tools combined with public web platforms for sharing designs, have opened-up the field of agent-based simulation . NetLogo is an integrated development environment for making, playing with and using these simulations in the most accessible manner upto the present time. This system is based upon the computer language Logo that was designed by an educational psychologist (Semour Papert, a student of Piaget's).
"Engineering and Technology", the magazine of the Institute for Engineering and Technology has focussed on Digital DIY in its latest issue, with two articles.
35 years ago I bought a BBC micro computer. It was big and clunky and did not have many games, but it had a structured programming language (BBC Basic), and lots of ports and I knew I wanted it. Although I had dabbled with programming before it was then that my programming ability really took off.
When the spread of cheap micro-computers made computing accessible to a wide range of people, there was an outpouring of creativity - no longer did one have to belong to one of the 'priesthoods' that cared for the big and expensive lumps of computing power. For example, the era of a new form of mass entertainment - the computer game - arrived, powered (at least initially) by creative individuals. However creativity is notoriously unbounded, and it also ushered in the era of computer viruses.
Low bandwidth technologies favoured sparse, formal representations of the real world: from musical notation, to line plans of buildings. With increasing storage and computing power, these will be supplanted by more detailed, "descriptive", representations that are beyond human power to directly produce and understand.