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07 December, 2009

VISIONEER - Envisioning a Socio Economic Knowledge Collider

A 7th Framework EU Project on Future Directions for Social Simulation

State of the art
More and more often social systems feature crises leading to unstable and dangerous situations that are characterized by abrupt and large-scale changes. Such disruptions are very hard to predict with any precision and even harder to control. The reasons behind the recent failures must be pursued in the intrinsic inadequacy of the currently established theories in social sciences and moreover in the inefficacy of both the tools and the mechanisms for shaping new underlying assumptions capable to push forward a more rapid and more effective innovation process.

The Vision
Visioneer is a European project aiming to reach a better, quantitative understanding of complex socio-economic systems. The final purpose is developing the concept of a Social Knowledge Collider, thereby creating optimal conditions to unleash the potential of real multi-disciplinary projects involving social scientist, economists, computer scientists, physicists, biologists, system scientists, and engineers whose complementary special knowledge would collide and create new kinds of concepts, as particle supercolliders create new kinds of particles.

Contribute Now at:

20 November, 2009

New Project: SCID - the Social Complexity of Immigration and Diversity

We have just heard that the CPM has got a significant grant from the EPSRC, under its "Complexity in the Real World" funding initiative. This is a 5 year project with the Department of Theoretical Physics and the Institute for Social Change, both at the University of Manchester, down the road.

The likely start date is 1st September 2010.

11 September, 2009

Visions of the Future of Social Simulation

We are nearing the end of the writing and editing of the handbook on "Simulating Social Complexity" which is to be published in the new year. See for details.

In the epilogue we would like to look forward a bit to guesses about the future trends, issues and techniques in social simulation. Thus we are asking for contributions consisting of people's opinions on this.

If you are interested, please send a 1 page statement of an area or two that you think will become increasingly important within the next 10 years. There should be already a few indications of the trend or issue you describe, but it should not be already much researched. We will edit these all into the final epilogue to the handbook.

All contributions will be acknowledged, but contributors will not get a whole free copy of the handbook -- sorry!

Please send in word or RTF format to by October 2nd 2009.

30 July, 2009

Talks Online from Introductory Lectures on Aspects of Complexity

That happened University of Manchester, 6th – 8th July 2009.

Go to:

Click on >> Registration >> Overview >> Paper

Then on each talk.

(Sorry no easier way)


10 June, 2009

International Workshop on 150 Years after Darwin

International Workshop on 150 Years after Darwin:
From Molecular Evolution to Language
Palma de Mallorca, November 23 - 27, 2009

Two hundred years since the birth of Charles Darwin and a hundred and fifty years since the publication of ”On the Origin of Species”, the theory of evolution is now a conceptual cornerstone in a wide number of areas of research outside its original field of application. Evolutionary biologists, linguists, physicists, economists, and social scientists nowadays use the notions of evolution and adaptation in their research. In each of those areas, the mechanisms behind the relevant dynamics (stochastic appearance of mutants, cultural innovations or social strategies, inheritance or spread of a new variant, and selection through competition) take a specific form that, nonetheless, shapes the structure and organisation of each system in a way that can be recognised as arising from ”evolutionary dynamics” in its broadest sense. These anniversaries seem an ideal opportunity to bring together researchers from the variety of disciplines which now use the evolutionary paradigm, to review progress, learn from each other and initiate new collaborations.

Invited Speakers

Santa Fe Institute, USA
Fernando Baquero
Centro de Investigación Biomédica, CSIC, Spain
University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM, USA
École Normale Supérieure, Paris, France
International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis, Vienna, Austria
TU Darmstadt, Germany
Manchester Metropolitan University Business School, UK
University of Queensland, Australia
University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN, USA
University of Massachusetts Amherst, USA
Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
Universität zu Köln , Germany
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Mexico
Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, València, Spain
Università di Napoli, Italy.
IFISC, Palma de Mallorca, Spain
University of Vienna, Austria
University of Maastricht, the Netherlands
Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain
University of Leipzig, Germany
Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Belgium
Max-Planck-Institut für Evolutionsbiologie, Plön, Germany
Institut de Biologie Moléculaire et Cellulaire, Strasbourg, France
Max-Planck-Institut für Ökonomik, Jena, Germany

For any information about the Workshop, please email:

15 May, 2009

Introductory Lectures on Aspects of Complexity

Three-day meeting

University of Manchester, 6-8 July 2009

A 3-day meeting exploring how physicists can contribute to the biological, economic and social sciences, aimed principally at graduate students and established physicists who are interested in learning about these novel applications.

On each day there will be a different theme, with one introductory lecture, three research talks, and ending with an overview lecture summarising the state of the subject, giving perspectives on current research and looking to the future.

The talks will be 50 minutes plus 10 minutes of questions.

All talks will be held in the Niels Bohr Common Room in the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Manchester, M13 9PL, UK

More information from:

The meeting is essentially free, i.e. $5 day registration (compulsory) but you get lunch for that!

24 April, 2009

CPM Report 09-203: Understanding Observed Complex Systems – the hard complexity problem

CPM Report No.: 09-203
By: Bruce Edmonds
Date: 22nd April 2009


Two kinds of problem are distinguished: the first of finding processes which produce complex outcomes from the interaction of simple parts, and the second of finding which process resulted in an observed complex outcome. The former I call the easy complexity problem and the later the hard complexity problem. It is often assumed that progress with the easy problem will aid process with the hard problem. However this assumes that the “reverse engineering” problem, of determining the process from the outcomes is feasible. Taking a couple of simple models of reverse engineering, I show that this task is infeasible in the general case. Hence it cannot be assumed that reverse engineering is possible, and hence that most of the time progress on the easy problem will not help with the hard problem unless there are special properties of a particular set of processes that make it feasible. Assuming that complexity science is not merely an academic “game” and given the analysis of this paper, some criteria for the kinds of paper that have a reasonable chance of being eventually useful for understanding observed complex systems are outlined. Many complexity papers do not fare well against these critieria.

Available at:

CPM Report 09-202: Usefulness of Simulating Social Phenomena

CPM Report No.: 09-202
By: Pablo Lucas

Lucas, Pablo; Usefulness of Simulating Social Phenomena, AISB 09 Symposium: Killer robots or friendly fridges: the social understanding of Artificial Intelligence, Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2009.

Date: March 16th 2009

This paper discusses the current usefulness and implications of developing research on agent-based Simulation Models of Social Phenomena (SMSP) beyond purely academic, hobbyist or educational purposes. Design, development and testing phases are discussed along with issues evidence-driven modellers often face whilst collecting, analysing and translating quantitative and qualitative empirical data into social simulation models. Methodological recommendations are discussed in light of the importance of developing research besides its own theory.

Available at:

CPM Report 09-201: Relating Financial characterisation of Microfinance Groups to Conventional Social Behaviour

CPM Report No.: 09-201
By: Pablo Lucas

Lucas, Pablo; Relating Financial characterisation of Microfinance Groups and their Conventional Social Behaviour. Second CFPM - ETH EMIL fieldwork report, Manchester, England, March 2009. (Segundo Reporte, Autonomous University of Mexico, PROIMMSE).

Date: March 16th 2009

This second report synthesises results from studying the effects of social conventions
within the internal organisation and evolution of micro-finance groups, also known as
solidarity groups, at a microfinance institution (MFI) in southern Mexico. According
to our publishing agreement, their precise identity and location is omitted. The next
section contains interpretations of all collected data and graphs, drawing on answers
from the second questionnaire to credit advisors and five financial databases. I thank
the MFI director, their team, economist Federico Morales, anthropologist Ignacio García
and Chris Catlin, along with CFPM and Swiss Federal Institute of Technology for the
support provided for this research.

Available at:

04 February, 2009

CfP: ESSA 2009 Conference 14-18 Sept 2009

Call for Papers for:
ESSA 2009
The 6th Conference of the European Social Simulation Association Conference

14-18 September 2009, Univ. of Surrey, Guilford (just outside London), UK.

Deadline for submissions: 14th April, 2009

ESSA 2009 will, like its predecessors, attract the best papers from across the world, describing the newest and most significant social simulation work. These will cover: human, animal and artificial societies, and apply a wide range of techniques. Social Simulation seems to be at a "tipping point" between revolutionary and normal science where it is introducing more rigour into its methods.

Come to participate in the formation of a new science!

The invited speakers are:
  • Mark Bedau, Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Reed College and Editor of Artificial Life
  • Jim Doran, Emeritus Professor of the Univ. of Essex and one of the founders of Social Simulation
  • Tim Kohler, Professor in the Dept. of Anthropology, Washington State University and Santa Fe

Reasonably mature papers on all aspects of social simulation will be carefully and anonymously considered – however most papers will (1) describe an individual/agent-based computer simulation (2) exhibit the outcomes of running the simulation in more than a cursory way and (3) make some comparison of these with either: evidence from, or other models of, social phenomena (human, animal or artificial). If you are in doubt as to the relevance of a paper, you may email the Scientific Chair for his opinion (see below), however the decisions about relevance will be made by the Programme Committee. See the conference website for details as to submission procedure.

All the accepted papers will be included in the ESSA 2009 electronic proceedings. The best accepted papers will be published in a separate post-proceedings.

The Venue

The conference will be held at the University of Surrey, Guildford. The Sociology Department there is rated as one of the top centres for sociology research in the UK. It is just outside London in the pretty town of Guilford, near Heathrow Airport and easily accessible from Gatwick.

Organizing Committee

The conference chair is Nigel Gilbert, University of Surrey, UK

Other members of the organising committee are:
  • Edmund Chattoe, University of Leicester, UK
  • Bruce Edmonds, Manchester Metropolitan University, UK (Scientific Chair)
  • Fred Amblard, University of Toulouse, France
  • Flaminio Squazzoni, University of Brescia, Italy
  • Lu Yang, University of Surrey, UK (Admin)
There is a large and varied program committee representing the top social simulation academics from across the world, covering a large variety of different views and approaches. For a list of PC members see the website.


For queries about the organisation of the conference, bookings, travel etc. see and for the submission of papers, the reviewing process or the programme email: