University of Kiel, Germany will be hosting a workshop “Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes IV” between 20-24th March 2017. It includes several sessions on simulation, modelling and ABM with a special emphasis on socio-natural systems. The abstract submission deadline is a still quite some time (30th November) but it may be worth putting the event into your calendars if you are not planning on crossing the ocean for the CAA in Atlanta or the SAAs in Vancouver.
For more information see the workshop website: http://www.workshop-gshdl.uni-kiel.de
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kiel#/media/File:Postcard_Panorama_of_Kiel_(1902).jpg
Our colleagues from Barcelona are organising a two-day workshop on the challenges of relating formal models (not only ABMs but other types of simulation and computational models as well) to the archaeological data. See below for an extended summary. The deadline for abstract submission has been extended to 25th April. For more information, check out their website.
The last decade saw a rapid growth of quantitative and computational methods apt to analyse long-term cultural and biological processes. In particular, the wide diffusion of agent-based simulation platforms and the enhanced accessibility of computer-intensive statistical analyses are offering the possibility to replace explanations based on natural language with formal models.
While these advances are providing powerful tools that are enabling us to tackle old and new research questions, their use is rarely coupled with appropriate epistemological discussions on how to ultimately relate the model to the data. Problems such as the choice of an appropriate statistic describing the empirical record, the balance between parsimony, complexity, and goodness-of-fit, the integration of taphonomic and sampling biases, or the inferential framework for selecting or rejecting alternative hypotheses rarely occupy the spotlight. In the case of simulation models, discussions are often limited to the model-building stage, and comparisons between prediction and observation are too often qualitative and not supported by sufficient statistical rigour. Yet this is the fundamental step that enables us to evaluate our models. In historical sciences, where the challenges imposed by the nature and the quality of our samples is at its greatest, this issue deserves more discussions and solutions. We believe that this is a critical issue that transcends the specific used in each discipline and cannot be dismissed as a challenge for statisticians.
We invite experts at different stage of this endeavour, sharing the same challenge of evaluating archaeological, historical, and anthropological model to the empirical evidence. We welcome the widest range of expertise (e.g. agent-based simulation, phylogenetics, network analysis, Bayesian inference, etc.) in order to promote the cross-fertilisation of techniques, as well as to engage into deeper theoretical and methodological discussions that transcends the specific of a given geographical and historical context. Participants will present examples showcasing problems (and solutions) on a variety of topics, including: uncertainty in the observed data, parameter search and estimation, model reusability and reproducibility, and more broadly applications of hypothesis testing and model-comparison frameworks in archaeology, anthropology, and history.
Call For Papers
Abstract Deadline: 25th April 2016
Abstract Length : max 300 words
Please submit via email to the address firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject: “WK-Empirical Challenge”
Image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Palau_de_la_Música_Catalana#/media/File:Palau_-_Vitrall_platea.jpg
Even if you are an ABM expert please help us spread the word!
Agent-based modelling (ABM) has taken by storm disciplines from all corners of the scientific spectrum, from ecology to transport and social sciences and it is becoming increasingly popular in archaeology.
Now it is your turn to give it go!
Learn how to use the simulation software and explore how this popular complexity science technique can complement your research. This two-day workshop will provide an introduction to ABM using NetLogo – an open-source platform for building agent-based models, which combines user-friendly interface, simple coding language and a vast library of model examples, making it an ideal starting point for entry-level agent-based modellers, as well as a useful prototyping tool for more experienced programmers.
For more details see the workshop leaflet: Workshop_leaflet-3
To secure a place please send an email to i.romanowska at soton.ac.uk expressing your interest and briefly describing your background and the reasons why you want to attend. The event is free of charge, but you need to register to the CAA conference. Please note that places are limited and early applications will be given preference.
Our colleagues in Cologne have put forward an interesting observation. They argue that most of the current ABMs in archaeology ignore the cultural dimension of human systems and instead treat agents behaviour in a mechanistic way. This has been a common criticism of economic models with their strong assumptions of rationality and perfect knowledge of the agents their model. However, I believe (tell me if I’m wrong), the lack of cultural complexity is raised for the first time in the context of humanities research.
If you find it an interesting food for thought, a two-day get together for researchers working on cultural complexity and agent-based modelling is organised in Cologne 23-24th October 2015 (see the event abstract below). The Call for Papers closes on 14th August. For more details see: http://abmculture.uni-koeln.de/index.html
Agent-based modeling can be used in a multitude of ways by researchers and teams with different scientific backgrounds all around the globe. With this workshop we intend to provide an opportunity to discuss the role of culture in agent-based modeling. Therefore we would like to invite to join the workshop the researchers whose work is based on the assumption that human beliefs and behavior are not caused solely by physical conditions and individual experiences but also by transmitted knowledge shaped in historical and social processes. We want culture to be understood in a broad sense, so that we can discuss a variety of concepts of culture and its current or potential use in agent-based modeling.
Image source: WikiMedia https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cologne_-_Panoramic_Image_of_the_old_town_at_dusk.jpg