Special tracks

SSC2018 accepts submissions (full papers, abstracts, posters) for the following special tracks.

In addition, submissions are accepted for the Blue Sky Ideas track and the ESSA@work track.

1. Agent-based Computational Archaeology: Networks
2. Artificial sociality
3. Cognitive models / Formalising decision making
4. Computational economics: Using simulation-based techniques to reflect on economic theory
5. Computational organisation theory
6. Education advancements in social simulation
7. Large-scale empirically-calibrated simulations
8. Model sharing, code sharing, and interdisciplinary collaboration in large scale simulation models: There is no ‘I’ in social simulation models
9. Modelling social science aspects of socio-ecological systems
10. Social processes of science including peer review
11.Social simulation and games
12. Social simulation in the policy world
13. Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules in agent-based models
14. Validation of agent-based models

Track number: 1
Title: Agent-based Computational Archaeology: Networks
Chair: Frederik Schaff
This session aims at fostering a discussion on best-practices and new methodologies of representing dynamic networks with a focus on (but not necessarily limited to!) archaeological applications. The application of agent-based modelling to the field of Archaeology is gaining momentum in recent years. The problems tackled are especially complex as many phenomena need to be combined such as land-use and change, population dynamics, social interaction, and innovation and movement in geographical space. Because time and its representation are critical aspects the representation and implementation of dynamical networks is especially important to archaeological ABMs.


Track number: 2
Title: Artificial sociality
Chairs: Gert Jan Hofstede, Flaminio Squazzoni, Wander Jager
The lives of people, from cleaners to leaders, are full of drama, and this has consequences for the fates of countries and companies. Power struggles, political manoeuvring, loyalties and love affairs, sympathies and anxieties rule the day. Practitioners know that the social world shows many patterns repeat themselves at national level, in groups, between factions. Can we social simulation adepts cope with this relational logic in our models? Can we create, not artificial intelligence, but artificial sociality?

This track should bring together models that explicitly address the social, relational side of life. We ask for contributions that are not only conceptual but also include application of concepts to cases, or at least proof-of-principle agent-based models. Possible topics include, but are not limited to:

* Dynamics of status and power in groups
* Emergence of different social structures in relation to culture
* Gender roles and networks in different cultures
* Concepts of family and supportive networks across cultures
* Evolution of cooperation in and between groups
* Relation between norms and values
* Dynamics of emotions such as jealousy, envy, admiration, revenge, and forgiveness
* Implementation of canonical social scientific models in ABM
* Emergent effects of interaction between formal and informal layers in society


Track number: 3
Title: Cognitive models / Formalising decision making
Chairs: Nanda Wijermans, Harko Verhagen
Description: The way behaviour is represented in social simulation models strongly effects the overall model outcomes. The processes and elements underlying behaviour however often remain implicit. This session targets to make the choices & assumptions underlying agent behaviour more explicit. Any model that elaborates on the representation of agent decision making is invited for this session. In particular presentations that concern the following topics are invited:
* models that reflect social and/or cognitive theories;
* models that explore/compare the role of assumptions underlying their model;
* reflect on what makes the choice for a decision model suitable for the case/model in question.


Track number: 4
Title: Computational economics: Using simulation-based techniques to reflect on economic theory
Chairs: Stephan Leitner, Friederike Wall
The aim of this special track is to facilitate the meeting of people who work in the field of Economics (as well as adjacent fields) and who employ simulation-based approaches. We aim at providing a multidisciplinary forum for the presentation and discussion of recent research findings which challenges economic models by integrating empirically sound assumptions and integrating findings from other disciplines. The special track has the ultimate objective to promote the further development of economic theory. See more details about this track here.


Track number: 5
Title: Computational organisation theory
Chairs: Cesar Garcia-Diaz, Iris Lorscheid
Computational organisation theory involves understanding organisational processes by means of computer simulation. It considers organisations as complex adaptive systems where the processes of organising are linked to factors such as structural interdependencies among organisational subunits and individual behaviour. Both intra-organisational issues (e.g. relationship between organisational structure and performance characteristics) and inter-organisational processes (e.g. firm strategy and competition dynamics) are of interest to this session.

Examples related to computational organisation theory include, but are not limited to, the following:

* Behavioural operations research
* Coevolution of individual and structure
* Computational models of strategy
* Evolutionary approaches to organisations
* Firm behaviour and supply chain dynamics
* Learning in organisations
* Markets
* Organisational design
* Organisational networks
* Organisational routines and generative explanations of organisational performance
* Team behaviour

Both theoretical and methodological perspectives, as well as applications to real contexts are of interest. Diverse computational approaches are welcome (e.g. agent-based modelling, dynamic simulation, hybrid models (DES-ABM) etc.).


Track number: 6
Title: Education advancements in social simulation
Chairs: Emile Chappin, Edmund Chattoe-Brown
Many ESSA researchers work on courses and/or knowledge transfer related to social simulation. The ESSA Special Interest Group on Education welcomes short abstracts and posters with best practices, good examples and new plans for social simulation education that are worth discussion with other ESSA social simulation teachers. At the conference, we can discuss how we can share and distribute these best practices amongst the community and discuss new opportunities for collaboration and exchange. Our expectation is that teachers/interested researchers submit a short abstract or poster to the SIG on Education in addition to the regular research paper that you send to this conference.


Track number: 7
Title: Large-scale empirically-calibrated simulations
Chairs: Selcan Mutgan, Eduardo Tapia
Agent-based simulation has proven to be a powerful analytical tool for studying the implications of a wide range of interdependent processes that help us understand the dynamics of macro-scale phenomena and evaluate repercussions of specific policy interventions. The boom of digital data in the last decade along with the increasing scale and number of publicly available datasets have allowed modelers to not only test models’ external validity, but also to inject increasingly empirically-relevant data in models to calibrate population characteristics, agents’ behaviors, and/or the environment in which they interact. The recent developments in empirically grounded simulations are especially relevant to models that aim to design and evaluate policy interventions by building more realistic models that minimize possible unintentional consequences due to unrealistic assumptions.

However, even though the advancement of empirically grounded simulation models is promising, there are still important challenges that need to be addressed, such as scaling issues, counterfactual-scenery assessments, external/internal validity, coding efficiency, isolation mechanisms, understandability of complex models, etc. In this special track, we would like to bring contributions to large scale empirically calibrated agent based simulations together. Any study that theoretically or empirically investigates issues related, but not limited, to the above-mentioned aspects is very welcome!


Track number: 8
Title: Model sharing, code sharing, and interdisciplinary collaboration in large scale simulation models: There is no ‘I’ in social simulation models
Chairs: Koen de Koning, Gert Jan Hofstede, Bruce Edmonds
With the increasing complexity of our models, and an increased demand for interdisciplinary collaboration, it’s becoming increasingly important to share our data, model code and output. A good way of structuring your data and code is essential for allowing models to be shared and improved by others. The ODD+ protocol for example helps with documenting the model description, so that a model with a well-documented description becomes reproducible. But more is needed to give peers the tools to build further on existing models, rather than just replicating them by reverse engineering the black box model. While most modellers see the importance and need for multidisciplinary collaboration in the complex models they are building, it is time to critically reflect on whether and how this is currently achieved. It requires a critical attitude towards ourselves as modellers, but also towards science in general – is a strong collaboration even achievable in a world where scientists are mostly competing for individual grants? The need to share our work and collaborate on large-scale complex models requires a more altruistic attitude: it’s not about owning our work, but about how our work can contribute to science and society.

Papers submitted to this special track should include at least one of the following topics:

* Ideas on how models can be shared to stimulate productive collaboration.
* Examples of successful multidisciplinary collaboration in social simulations.
* Reviews on the performance of multidisciplinary collaboration in social simulation models.
* Large scale simulation models that came about through interdisciplinary collaboration.
* Ideas on how simulation models can be presented so that it can be utilized by others.
* Models that require input from experts from various fields, and that are open for sharing after the conference.
* Models that use voluntary input from societal actors/agents.
* Models that can be used by society, that people can use to play with and make their life easier.

Provided that we have enough submissions, we would like to propose that candidates exchange their models and code after this session in order to produce concrete output resulting from interdisciplinary collaboration. How exactly this is going to take shape is still up for discussion.


Track number: 9
Title: Modelling social science aspects of socio-ecological systems
Chairs: Melania Borit, Jorge Santos
Overall, we are faced with a world-wide problem in potentially losing fisheries, forest, water and other natural resources. For example, in fisheries almost 90% of stocks are over-exploited or fully exploited. Improved and innovative management solutions are required if this critical situation is to be remedied. Since management is about people, integrating social sciences aspects into the modelling of socio-ecological complex systems might be such a new way of thinking about managing natural resources such as fisheries, forests etc. We are interested in solutions that study these challenges with a social-ecological complex systems lense and a focus on the social behavior components of the system. Submissions focusing on any aspects of natural resource management are welcome, including (but not restricted to): social norms and self-organization of human agents (e.g. fishers), applications of Ostrom´s work on managing social commons; compliance with rules under changing management regimes; culture and trust; simulations combining complex representations of society and complex ecological models; simulations as public educational tools, participatory simulations etc. This session is a SAF21 (www.saf21.eu) initiative.


Track number: 10
Title: Social processes of science including peer review
Chairs: Bruce Edmonds, Flaminio Squazzoni
Science is not an individual endeavour but a highly social phenomena involving cooperation, competition, debate, critique, training and influence. This special session seeks social simulation papers that seeks to represent and understand these processes, and thus reflect upon the very processes we partake in. In particular, this includes the processes of Peer Review and any of the work coming out of the PEERE Cost action.


Track number: 11
Title: Social simulation and games
Chairs: Harko Verhagen, Melania Borit
This special session focuses on the interplay between social simulation and games (e.g. serious games, role-playing games etc.). We wish to bring together researchers working on both fields to a crossroads at which synergies will be created between the two areas. In SSSG, we investigate how the fields of social simulation and serious games are linked. In particular, we focus on the following topics:

* Serious game design. Which level of abstraction is chosen for a serious game? Is/should it be close to a strict simulation or incorporate extensive metaphors? What are the factors based on which this choice is to be made? Which (serious) game mechanics are useful?
* Modelling the social situation. Which approach captures the situation with sufficient granularity? How should a choice be made to include specific theories and models that describe the situation? For example, using a data-driven methodology, how can the steps be made from data to theory to application (and game mechanics)? For agent-based modelling, how can artificially intelligent agents be made that act according to a specified model?
* Example implementations. Stories of success and failure: which elements in a serious game that includes social interaction turn out to be useful and which are counter-productive to the game’s goal? Which elements of social simulations can be used in the design of serious games?

Track number: 12
Title: Social simulation in the policy world
Chairs: Ruth Meyer, Bruce Edmonds
Social simulation is coming of age, in the sense that it is starting to seriously address issues of policy relevance. However, compared to economic/econometric analysis, statistical projection, or General Computable Equilibrium models it has had little demonstrable impact upon policy making (at least so far). Furthermore, there are difficulties in using social simulation within the policy process for a number of reasons. These include: the unfamiliarity of policy actors with social simulation, the complexity of most policy-relevant simulations, the difficulty of claiming predictive ability for these models, the difficulty in fully validating the models, the lack of standards for complex simulations for policy (e.g. standards for validation), and lack of an agreed or uncontested ontology for such models. This special session welcomes papers that address any of the above issues, or reports on experience in using a social simulation with policy actors.


Track number: 13
Title: Using qualitative data to inform behavioral rules in agent-based models
Chairs: Melania Borit, Bruce Edmonds
Many academics consider qualitative evidence (e.g. texts gained from transcribing oral data or observations of people) and quantitative evidence to be incommensurable.  However, agent-based simulations are a possible vehicle for bridging this gap.  Narrative textual evidence often gives clues as to the in-context behavior of individuals and is thus a natural source for behaviors to inform the specification of corresponding agent behavior within simulations. The texts will not give a complete picture but will provide some of “menu” of behaviors people use. During this session we hope to further the understanding of how to improve this. It is open to all approaches that seek to move from qualitative evidence towards a simulation in a systematic way. These include, but are not limited to:

* Approaches based in Grounded Theory.
* Tools for facilitating such a process.
* Participatory processes that result in a simulation.
* Frameworks for aiding the analysis of text into rules.
* Elicitation techniques that would aid the capture of information in an appropriate structure.
* Models and ideas from psychology to aid in the above process.
* Insights and tools from Natural Language Processing that may help this process.
* Agent architectures that will facilitate the programming of agents from such analyses.
* Philosophical or Sociological critiques of this project, pointing out assumptions and dangers.
* Examples of where this approach has been tried.


Track number: 14
Title: Validation of agent-based models
Chairs: Koen de Koning, Gert Jan Hofstede
Validation remains one of the most challenging issues for agent-based modellers. There are various methods for validating agent-based models across scales, ranging from empirical validation to theory-based evaluations. Modellers should address validation on the agent level as well as on the system level, and efforts vary depending on the research goal and the type of model. Time is always a limiting resource, thus a modeller should be wise in how to invest her time optimally. Some validation challenges that will be addressed in this special session include: can you use analogies to validate the dynamics of one system by the behaviour of another? Can validation methods be extrapolated across scales? How do you validate agent-based models about future scenarios that lack a real-world reference, e.g. in coupled human-climate systems?

Papers submitted to this special track should at least be about agent-based modelling, and should include at least one of the following topics:

* Reviews of validation methods in agent-based modelling
* Methods for validating agent-based models
* Validation of agent-based models across scales
* Use of analogies to validate model behaviour across systems
* Validation of coupled human-climate models

Papers on validation of ABMs submitted to this session should ideally be related to coupled social-ecological systems, but we will take other papers on validation of ABMs into consideration.




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