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20 June, 2018

New Paper in RS Open Science: "Computational modelling for decision-making: where, why, what, who and how"

Computational modelling for decision-making: where, why, what, who and how

by Muffy Calder, Claire Craig, Dave Culley, Richard de Cani, Christl A. Donnelly, Rowan Douglas, Bruce Edmonds, Jonathon Gascoigne, Nigel Gilbert, Caroline Hargrove, Derwen Hinds, David C. Lane, Dervilla Mitchell, Giles Pavey, David Robertson, Bridget Rosewell, Spencer Sherwin, Mark Walport, Alan Wilson

Published: 20 June 2018. DOI: 10.1098/rsos.172096 Royal Society Open Science


In order to deal with an increasingly complex world, we need ever more sophisticated computational models that can help us make decisions wisely and understand the potential consequences of choices. But creating a model requires far more than just raw data and technical skills: it requires a close collaboration between model commissioners, developers, users and reviewers. Good modelling requires its users and commissioners to understand more about the whole process, including the different kinds of purpose a model can have and the different technical bases. This paper offers a guide to the process of commissioning, developing and deploying models across a wide range of domains from public policy to science and engineering. It provides two checklists to help potential modellers, commissioners and users ensure they have considered the most significant factors that will determine success. We conclude there is a need to reinforce modelling as a discipline, so that misconstruction is less likely; to increase understanding of modelling in all domains, so that the misuse of models is reduced; and to bring commissioners closer to modelling, so that the results are more useful.

This is a summary of the UK Government's Blackett report: "Computational Modelling: Technological Futures"

Available at: (Open Access)


09 June, 2018

New Journal: Socio-Cognitive Systems

Frank Dignum and I have started this new journal, which we will edit. The reason for this is that we feel that the cognitive and the social need to be studied together. That is both cognitive processes and social processes explicitly represented in the same simulations/systems. Much of human cognition is fundamentally social and makes no sense away from its social context. Much social phenomena can only occur (and thus be understood) when there is sufficient cognitive hooks (e.g. context-sensitivity or face recognition). Thus we hope to focus and stimulate research which does not just look at one side (cognitive or social) with only a nod to the other, but integrates the two aspects and understands them together.

More details about the journal can be found at: