A hands-on introduction to Agent-Based Modelling for Social Scientists, 28 feb/1 Mar 2013

A hands-on introduction to Agent-Based Modelling for Social Scientists: Exploring Complex and Dynamic Social Processes
28th February & 1st March 2013, CCSR Computer Lab, Humanities Bridgeford Street Building, University of Manchester.

The Institute for Social Change, the Cathie Marsh Centre for Census and Survey Research and the Centre for Policy Modelling will be running a 2-day introduction to agent-based simulation. This workshop is funded by a grant from the Methods@Manchester initiative (www.methods.manchester.ac.uk). The course is free to attend and will be suitable for people without any experience of computer programming, it is aimed at new post-graduate social researchers, e.g. PhD students, post-docs, lecturers.  

This workshop will introduce participants to the modelling of dynamic social processes, such as group membership, influence, imitation collaboration and innovation, through a series of agent-based simulations. 

Participants will gain understanding of the simulation of social processes by exploring working simulation models and by adapting these models to describe different types of process.  It will give participants a first-hand experience of complexity science including the ideas of emergence, self-organisation, chaos, ‘lock in’ and dynamic systems.  We will also consider the limitations and difficulties of such techniques, and how they complement more traditional approaches in the social sciences.

This will be a largely hands-on course, exposing participants to a series of simulation models in the NetLogo simulation language.  It will include:  brief introductions, simplified example models, guided suggestions for interacting with them and assistants to help when you get stuck.  There will be some summary sessions to bring out the lessons learnt and additional materials to guide participants onto the next steps of simulation for those that are interested.

Application process
There is no charge to attend the course and places are strictly limited. If you wish to reserve a place, please apply on or before the 1st of December 2012. You must include in your application a 100-word piece that clearly and concisely explains how you anticipate your research would benefit from attendance, without lapsing even once into platitude or cliché.

Those securing a place will be notified on or before the 31st of January 2012.