Modeling Emergence: Computer Simulation as a Theory-Building Tool
An ISSR two-day workshop at UMass
9:00 am to 12:00 pm May 14-15, 2013
Location: W13 Machmer Hall
Click here to register for this workshop
Much quantitative social science research has focused on identifying statistical relationships in cross-sectional data, while assuming that the objects of study are independent of one another. Qualitative (e.g., ethnographic and comparative-historical) lenses have allowed us to view the social world as a web of interdependent and contingent processes, with macro-level cultures, communities, and organizations emerging from and constraining the micro-level interactions of individuals, relationships, and families. An explosion of recent work has used computer simulation to think systematically and rigorously about these dynamic social processes. Theorists use computer models to elucidate, extend, integrate, and validate social theory. Policy analysts use computer models to predict outcomes of policy choices in complex and interactive domains. This proliferation of simulation work has generated great interest in computer modeling methods, but few social science departments presently offer training in this area. This workshop will allow attendees to understand some of the goals and methods of social simulation, give them hands-on experience in experimenting on models, and point them to resources to begin using these tools in their own work.
Cost:$20 faculty and graduate students (includes refreshments)
This workshop is subsidized by Computational Social Science (CSS).
Workshop Leader: James A. Kitts
James A. Kitts is a sociologist in the business school at Columbia University, and is visiting the Department of Sociology and the Computational Social Science Initiative at the University of Massachusetts this year. He has taught computational modeling Ph.D. seminars at Columbia, the University of Arizona, and the University of Washington, and has led modeling workshops for government agencies, universities, and research institutes around the world. His research recently appeared in American Sociological Review, Social Forces, Social Psychology Quarterly, and Demography.