Van Dyke Parunak

Learning from and simulating of social behavior of all creatures great and small

For nearly four decades, my research has reflected a fascination with self-organization among social animals, and in particular the stigmergic mechanisms used by some insects. Most recently, I led a team in developing a social modeling system, SCAMP, that uses stigmergic computation to generate realistic human behavior. This talk will review the history of my work in this area, and describe the SCAMP modeling platform. 

Recording from 3 May 2022


Jennifer Badham

Justified stories as one role for models in policy decisions

I will be talking about JuSt-Social, a model developed to support local planners in North East England in the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic. The model supports decision making by projecting plausible responses to policy interventions such as social distancing. The presentation focuses on the changing relationship between policy, model and data as the epidemic developed, and the role of models as a tool for thinking. 

Recording from 17 May 2022


Kavin Narasimhan

The Role of Evidence in Modelling Water, Energy and…Parties: Reflections from the Journey

My agent-based modelling journey began when I was looking for a nonintrusive way to experiment with how people form or join and leave conversational groups in parties (social gatherings). I have since worked on two other interesting agent-based modelling projects. One to explore the dynamics of energy use in households and another to simulate community-level water management in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on my experience of developing these models, in this talk, I will discuss two specific issues that inspire me, challenge me, and make me want to do better as an agent-based modeller: (1) collecting evidence for agent-based modelling and (2) providing evidence through agent-based modelling (e.g., for policymaking). I will also facilitate an interactive discussion with the audience to explore different perspectives on these topics.

Recording from 24 May 2022