Advanced Computational Modeling of Social Systems (851-0592-00)

Advanced Computational Modeling of Social Systems (851-0592-00)

Thanks to the revolution in information technology, computational modeling is increasingly used as a tool to study social systems. This seminar focuses exclusively on agent-based modeling, which is a particular type of computational methodology that allows the researcher to create, analyze, and experiment with artificial worlds populated by agents that interact in non-trivial ways. In such “complex adaptive systems,” computation is used to simulate the cognitive processes and behavior of agents in order to explore emergent macro phenomena, i.e., structural patterns that are not reducible to, or even understandable in terms of, properties of the micro-level agents.

Seminar available as elective course (“Pflichtwahlfach”) or as a PhD course.

Time: Summer Semester 2008; Wednesday 17:00-19:00
Place: SEI E 13, Seilergraben 49

Contents overview

We will be studying the principles of agent-based modeling and its applications to the social sciences. The course will allow the participants to develop their own applied models.


This course builds on the introductory class given SS 04, WS 04/05, WS 05/06, WS 06/07 and WS 06/07. Attendance of that course is not a prerequisite but helpful. Prior knowledge of programming is required.

Performance evaluation

Each student will be required to develop and present their own applied model.


Participants are recommended to base their models on Java and RePast, but are allowed to produce code in a package of their own choosing.


Prof. Lars-Erik Cederman (D-GESS)
International Conflict Research
Seilergraben 49, Room G.2
8092 Zurich
lcederman AT (replace AT by @)
01-632 67 59

Luc Girardin (D-GESS)
International Conflict Research
Seilergraben 49, Room G.1
8092 Zurich
girardin AT (replace AT by @)
01-632 67 30