Friday, December 29, 2017

Models from Teaching CSS

Most of the time when I teach a class instead of setting a final exam, I ask the students to carryout an end of semester research project. In my Introduction to Computational Social Science classes (both at the graduate and undergraduate level), this project entails the development of a computational model in an area of  interest to the student (or at the undergraduate level, students can opt to systematically explore someone else's model). The aim of this exercise is to cement what the students have (hopefully) learnt during the semester. I.e.:
  • to understand the motivation for the use of computational models in social science theory and research;
  • to learn about the variety of CSS research programs across the social science disciplines;
  • to understand the distinct contribution that CSS can make by providing specific insights about society, social phenomena at multiple scales, and the nature of social complexity.
Below you can see some of the outputs from these projects this last fall. The models range in type from agent-based models, cellular automata models to discrete event simulations (aka. queuing models) applied to a variety of topics from elephant poaching, artists and patrons, inheritance and wealth accumulation, the spread of religion, to that of looking at serving times at a Chipotle Mexican Grill.


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