News from the Centre for Policy Modelling, including announcements of: new papers, special issues, books, workshops, projects, jobs and study opportunities.
07 December, 2009
State of the art
More and more often social systems feature crises leading to unstable and dangerous situations that are characterized by abrupt and large-scale changes. Such disruptions are very hard to predict with any precision and even harder to control. The reasons behind the recent failures must be pursued in the intrinsic inadequacy of the currently established theories in social sciences and moreover in the inefficacy of both the tools and the mechanisms for shaping new underlying assumptions capable to push forward a more rapid and more effective innovation process.
Visioneer is a European project aiming to reach a better, quantitative understanding of complex socio-economic systems. The final purpose is developing the concept of a Social Knowledge Collider, thereby creating optimal conditions to unleash the potential of real multi-disciplinary projects involving social scientist, economists, computer scientists, physicists, biologists, system scientists, and engineers whose complementary special knowledge would collide and create new kinds of concepts, as particle supercolliders create new kinds of particles.
Contribute Now at: http://www.visioneer.ethz.ch/
20 November, 2009
The likely start date is 1st September 2010.
11 September, 2009
In the epilogue we would like to look forward a bit to guesses about the future trends, issues and techniques in social simulation. Thus we are asking for contributions consisting of people's opinions on this.
If you are interested, please send a 1 page statement of an area or two that you think will become increasingly important within the next 10 years. There should be already a few indications of the trend or issue you describe, but it should not be already much researched. We will edit these all into the final epilogue to the handbook.
All contributions will be acknowledged, but contributors will not get a whole free copy of the handbook -- sorry!
Please send in word or RTF format to firstname.lastname@example.org by October 2nd 2009.
30 July, 2009
Go to: http://www.theory.physics.manchester.ac.uk/complexitymeeting/
Click on >> Registration >> Overview >> Paper
Then on each talk.
(Sorry no easier way)
10 June, 2009
From Molecular Evolution to Language
Palma de Mallorca, November 23 - 27, 2009
Two hundred years since the birth of Charles Darwin and a hundred and ﬁfty years since the publication of ”On the Origin of Species”, the theory of evolution is now a conceptual cornerstone in a wide number of areas of research outside its original ﬁeld of application. Evolutionary biologists, linguists, physicists, economists, and social scientists nowadays use the notions of evolution and adaptation in their research. In each of those areas, the mechanisms behind the relevant dynamics (stochastic appearance of mutants, cultural innovations or social strategies, inheritance or spread of a new variant, and selection through competition) take a speciﬁc form that, nonetheless, shapes the structure and organisation of each system in a way that can be recognised as arising from ”evolutionary dynamics” in its broadest sense. These anniversaries seem an ideal opportunity to bring together researchers from the variety of disciplines which now use the evolutionary paradigm, to review progress, learn from each other and initiate new collaborations.
For any information about the Workshop, please email:
15 May, 2009
University of Manchester, 6-8 July 2009
A 3-day meeting exploring how physicists can contribute to the biological, economic and social sciences, aimed principally at graduate students and established physicists who are interested in learning about these novel applications.
On each day there will be a different theme, with one introductory lecture, three research talks, and ending with an overview lecture summarising the state of the subject, giving perspectives on current research and looking to the future.
The talks will be 50 minutes plus 10 minutes of questions.
All talks will be held in the Niels Bohr Common Room in the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, UK
More information from: http://www.theory.physics.manchester.ac.uk/complexitymeeting/
The meeting is essentially free, i.e. $5 day registration (compulsory) but you get lunch for that!
24 April, 2009
By: Bruce Edmonds
Date: 22nd April 2009
Two kinds of problem are distinguished: the first of finding processes which produce complex outcomes from the interaction of simple parts, and the second of finding which process resulted in an observed complex outcome. The former I call the easy complexity problem and the later the hard complexity problem. It is often assumed that progress with the easy problem will aid process with the hard problem. However this assumes that the “reverse engineering” problem, of determining the process from the outcomes is feasible. Taking a couple of simple models of reverse engineering, I show that this task is infeasible in the general case. Hence it cannot be assumed that reverse engineering is possible, and hence that most of the time progress on the easy problem will not help with the hard problem unless there are special properties of a particular set of processes that make it feasible. Assuming that complexity science is not merely an academic “game” and given the analysis of this paper, some criteria for the kinds of paper that have a reasonable chance of being eventually useful for understanding observed complex systems are outlined. Many complexity papers do not fare well against these critieria.
Available at: http://cfpm.org/cpmrep203.html
CPM Report No.: 09-202
By: Pablo Lucas
Lucas, Pablo; Usefulness of Simulating Social Phenomena, AISB 09 Symposium: Killer robots or friendly fridges: the social understanding of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2009.
Date: March 16th 2009
Available at: http://cfpm.org/cpmrep202.html
CPM Report 09-201: Relating Financial characterisation of Microfinance Groups to Conventional Social Behaviour
CPM Report No.: 09-201
By: Pablo Lucas
Lucas, Pablo; Relating Financial characterisation of Microfinance Groups and their Conventional Social Behaviour. Second CFPM - ETH EMIL fieldwork report, Manchester, England, March 2009. (Segundo Reporte, Autonomous University of Mexico, PROIMMSE).
Date: March 16th 2009
This second report synthesises results from studying the effects of social conventions
within the internal organisation and evolution of micro-finance groups, also known as
solidarity groups, at a microfinance institution (MFI) in southern Mexico. According
to our publishing agreement, their precise identity and location is omitted. The next
section contains interpretations of all collected data and graphs, drawing on answers
from the second questionnaire to credit advisors and five financial databases. I thank
the MFI director, their team, economist Federico Morales, anthropologist Ignacio García
and Chris Catlin, along with CFPM and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for the
support provided for this research.
Available at: http://cfpm.org/cpmrep201.html
04 February, 2009
ESSA 2009 will, like its predecessors, attract the best papers from across the world, describing the newest and most significant social simulation work. These will cover: human, animal and artificial societies, and apply a wide range of techniques. Social Simulation seems to be at a "tipping point" between revolutionary and normal science where it is introducing more rigour into its methods.
Come to participate in the formation of a new science!
The invited speakers are:
- Mark Bedau, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Reed College and Editor of Artificial Life
- Jim Doran, Emeritus Professor of the Univ. of Essex and one of the founders of Social Simulation
- Tim Kohler, Professor in the Dept. of Anthropology, Washington State University and Santa Fe
Reasonably mature papers on all aspects of social simulation will be carefully and anonymously considered – however most papers will (1) describe an individual/agent-based computer simulation (2) exhibit the outcomes of running the simulation in more than a cursory way and (3) make some comparison of these with either: evidence from, or other models of, social phenomena (human, animal or artificial). If you are in doubt as to the relevance of a paper, you may email the Scientific Chair for his opinion (see below), however the decisions about relevance will be made by the Programme Committee. See the conference website for details as to submission procedure.
All the accepted papers will be included in the ESSA 2009 electronic proceedings. The best accepted papers will be published in a separate post-proceedings.
The conference will be held at the University of Surrey, Guildford. The Sociology Department there is rated as one of the top centres for sociology research in the UK. It is just outside London in the pretty town of Guilford, near Heathrow Airport and easily accessible from Gatwick.
The conference chair is Nigel Gilbert, University of Surrey, UK
Other members of the organising committee are:
- Edmund Chattoe, University of Leicester, UK
- Bruce Edmonds, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK (Scientific Chair)
- Fred Amblard, University of Toulouse, France
- Flaminio Squazzoni, University of Brescia, Italy
- Lu Yang, University of Surrey, UK (Admin)
For queries about the organisation of the conference, bookings, travel etc. see http://cress.soc.surrey.ac.uk/essa2009/contactUs.php and for the submission of papers, the reviewing process or the programme email: email@example.com