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Home Courses Special : Advanced Course
Special : Advanced Courses

SIMIAN offers specialised advanced agent-based modelling courses, which provide an opportunity to engage in student-centred learning. They focus on the models and ideas that participants are currently working on. Participants will get expert advice from the course instructors as well as other modellers on the course. According to demand, the courses may also cover proposal writing, shaping research questions to data and field, and tips for the academic publication of simulation-based research.

Seminar/Discussions: Teaching Social Simulation

Date: 17th September 2009

Venue: University of Surrey (in association with ESSA conference)

Chairs: Edmund Chattoe-Brown and Nigel Gilbert

Those teaching innovative methods such as social simulation face two problems. For novice teachers, the costs of starting up are relatively high. For experienced teachers, there are few opportunities to exchange ideas about "what works" (and what doesn't). This session is intended to address both by offering an opportunity for those already teaching simulation to pool their expertise and a chance for those who aren't to see how it is done. We hope those who are already teaching simulation will bring sample syllabi and reading lists. If there is a good attendance, we shall consider setting up an ESSA SIG for teachers.

This seminar is free for the conference participants of European Social Simulation Association

 

Advanced Course: Modelling Social Networks

Date: 27th November 2009

Venue: University of Surrey

There is increasing interest in social network analysis within the social sciences, primarily because it is a way of examining the structures of interactions between actors. While earlier forms of social network analysis were mainly concerned with building a static picture of networks recorded at one moment in time, attention has now turned to more dynamic analyses, in which the development of network structures is attended to.

Concurrently, agent-based modelling, which enables the interactions between agents to be represented in a straightforward way, has become more interested in network structures. However, modellers tend to stick with a few archetypical and probably unrepresentative network forms in designing their models, such random, small world and preferential attachment networks.

In this advanced course, we shall discuss the possible linkages between social network analysis and agent-based modelling, reviewing current ideas in both areas and considering how agent-based modelling might benefit from work in social network analysis and vice versa.

Participants:

To join the course, you should have had some prior experience with either (or both) agent-based modelling or social network analysis.

Programme:

  • Introduction (Nigel  Gilbert, University of Surrey)
  • Social  network analysis: current developments (Martin Everett, University of Manchester)
  • Using agent-based modelling to explore social networks (Christina Prell, University of Sheffield)
  • An alternative model of social networks (Lynne Hamill, University of Surrey)
  • Other directions and ideas (all participants)
  • Panel session: Should social network analysts become agent-based modellers? (Chair:  Edmund Chattoe-Brown, University of Leicester

The presenters:

Edmund Chattoe-Brown’s research addresses decisions with significant social components. Flows of information/influence through networks are obvious examples. He is interested in how agent-based modelling can systematically be informed by data routinely collected in social science, steering between data free “toy” models and “number crunching” for existing theories.

Martin Everett gained a DPhil in social networks from Oxford University in 1980 under Clyde Mitchell. He has published over 100 papers mainly on social networks and is one of the developers of the software package UCINET. Martin has been president of the International Network of Social Network Analysts and still serves on the board; he currently holds a chair in Social Network Analysis at the University of Manchester.

Nigel Gilbert is professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey and editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.  He has written on the methodology of agent-based modelling and authored two textbooks on social simulation, as well as directing a number of large projects that used agent-based models.

Lynne Hamill is in the Centre for Research in Social Simulation at the University of Surrey. She is using agent-based modelling to investigate the interaction between social, communication and transport networks. Previously she worked in the Digital World Research Centre, University of Surrey and the UK Government Economic Service.

Christina Prell is a Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Sheffield. Her research interests concern social networks and network analysis; in particular, the role social networks play in discussions of social capital and social learning, as well as their role in shaping actors' views of the environment. She is currently involved in two funded projects; one in relation to stakeholders and land management and the other pertaining to simulating social networks to explore the links between social capital and small-worlds. She is also completing a book on social networks for SAGE.

Advanced CourseRich Cognitive Models

Date & time: 10th June 2010, 9:30 - 17:00

Venue: University of Leicester

Behaviour Changes in Large Organisations

The construction trade has recently been swamped with a host of health and safety directives. From not entering a building site without a hard hat over steel toe shoes at all times to proper roping on climbing a scaffold, the list seems to be endless. The legislation is in the interest of the construction workers as it centers on their safety. Nonetheless, implementation is slow and resistance among construction workers is high.

NHS hospitals in the UK have a severe problem with superbugs like MRSA. Although it seems that the origin of those bugs is connected to overprescription of antibiotics to patients, leading to very fast mutation and high levels of resistance, it has been acknowledged that hospital hygiene is a major contributor to the spread of MRSA. In order to buck the trend, the department of health has released a host of guidelines, measures and targets over the years. Again, infection rates and cleanliness results are less than encouraging and improvement is slow.

It seems the behaviour of people working in large institutions such as hospitals and building sites is not easy to change. How can cleanliness in hospitals be improved? How can the safety of construction workers be ensured? The overarching question is how a culture in large organisations can be changed. Is tighter control needed? More incentives? Coercion? Choice? Responsibility? Education and information?

In this workshop we would like to focus on how to model changes in institutional cultures. We do not look for an implemented solution to the problem. Instead we would like a range of approaches to the problem providing unique formalisations and modeling ideas to understand and solve the problems faced in this kind of behaviour change in large institutions.

This workshop brings together key players from the agent-based modelling (ABM) and the multi-agent systems (MAS) community. We ask them to give us an outline how they would tackle the problem of culture change in hospitals. The workshop will allow for small group discussion as well as a plenary about different approaches and their integration.

Speakers:

Virginia Dignum is a senior lecturer at the Delft University of Technology, Dept. of Technology, Policy and Management. She received a PhD in from UU in 2004. Previously, she worked in industry for more than 12 years and was a lecturer at Utrecht University. Her research focuses agent based models of organisations, and hybrid teams of people and machines. She received the prestigious award of excellence Veni from the Dutch Scientific Research Foundation in 2006. She is involved in several European and national projects, has organised many international conferences and workshops (in particular, was co-organiser of AAMAS'05) and has more than 80 peer-reviewed publications and has given many invited talks and tutorials in venues so diverse as corporate trainings, cognitive psychology research schools, social simulation, software engineering, knowledge management or multi-agent systems conferences.

Bruce Edmonds is the Director of the Centre for Policy Modelling, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Manchester Metropolitan Unviserity Businesss School. He is interested in far too many things for his own good, but including social simulation, complexity, context, social intelligence, and alternative ways of distributing/organising society. More information about him can be found here.

Michael Luck is Professor of Computer Science in the Department of Computer Science at King's College London, where he leads the Agents and Intelligent Systems subgroup and undertakes research into agent technologies and intelligent systems. Professor Luck has published around 200 articles in these and related areas, and twelve books (including monographs, textbooks, and edited collections); he was lead author of the AgentLink roadmaps in 2003 and 2005. According to CiteSeer in August 2006, he is in the top 0.5% of computer scientists in the world, and according to Google Scholar, he has an h-index of 33. More information about him can be found here.

Edmund Chattoe-Brown’s research addresses decisions with significant social components. Flows of information/influence through networks are obvious examples. He is interested in how agent-based modelling can systematically be informed by data routinely collected in social science, steering between data free “toy” models and “number crunching” for existing theories.

Corinna Elsenbroich is a Research Fellow in Sociology at the University of Surrey. Her research background is in philosophy of science and computer science. Her research interests are the methodology of simulation in the social sciences and the interrelations between reasoning, decision making and action which will here be applied to the phenomenon of social norms.

Nigel Gilbert is professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey and editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation.  He has written on the methodology of agent-based modelling and authored two textbooks on social simulation, as well as directing a number of large projects that used agent-based models.

Synthetic data meets simulation workshop

Date: 22nd October 2010 10AM - 4PM

Venue: Arthur Lewis Building, University of Manchester

Sponsored by SIMIAN and CCSR (http://www.ccsr.ac.uk)

A workshop to explore synergies between synthetic data generation and agent-based modelling

Agent based modelling and synthetic data generation both produce artificial data based on theories or models. Synthetic data generation produces simulated population data usually from real data samples and/or data restricted in some way for confidentiality reasons. Agent based modelling generates data about simulated populations and could also be seen as a means of producing synthetic data.

This workshop has been conceived to explore whether research in both fields could be mutually informative and whether the techniques, methods and data products of each could enhance the other. Some ideas that may be worth exploring include: the use of synthetic data to assign properties to agents so that they possess the multivariate properties of the population of interest; and the use of agent based models to enhance longitudinal aspects of synthetic data (which may well have been generated cross-sectionally).

The workshop is free to attend. Lunch and refreshments will be provided. However places are limited, so please book early.

Invited Speakers:

Jerry Reiter is Professor of Statistics Science at Duke University. He is one of the world leading researchers on synthetic data generation, with particular reference to its applications to data privacy. More generally, he is interested in research involving survey methodology, especially dealing with missing data in complex surveys.

Mark Elliot has worked at the Centre for Census and Survey Research(CCSR) since 1996, mainly in the field of statistical confidentiality, founding the international recognised Confidentiality and Privacy Research Group (CAPRI) in 2002, and has managed numerous research projects within CAPRI remit. In 2005 he became Director of CCSR. He is one of the key international researchers in the field of Statistical Disclosure and has an extensive portfolio of research grants and publications in the field.

Bruce Edmonds is the Director of the Centre for Policy Modelling, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Manchester Metropolitan Unviserity Businesss School. He is interested in far too many things for his own good, but including social simulation, complexity, context, social intelligence, and alternative ways of distributing/organising society. More information about him can be found here.

Nigel Gilbert is professor of Sociology at the University of Surrey and editor of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation. He has written on the methodology of agent-based modelling and authored two textbooks on social simulation, as well as directing a number of large projects that used agent-based models.

Edmund Chattoe-Brown’s research addresses decisions with significant social components. Flows of information/influence through networks are obvious examples. He is interested in how agent-based modelling can systematically be informed by data routinely collected in social science, steering between data free “toy” models and “number crunching” for existing theories.

Simulating Innovation Workshop

Date: 24th June 2011 10AM - 5PM

Venue: Ken Edwards Building, University of Leicester

A workshop on the use of simulation models in innovation studies

For details please visit Simulation Innovation Workshop web page.

 

More information is on the courses page.