Computational Modeling of Complex Socio-Technical Systems - # 08-621

Instructor: Dr. Kathleen M. Carley
Units: 12.0


Course Description

We live and work in complex adaptive and evolving socio-technical systems. These systems may be complex for a variety of reasons. For example, they may be complex because there is a need to coordinate many groups, because humans are interacting with technology, because there are non routine or very knowledge intensive tasks, and so on. At the heart of this complexity is a set of adaptive agents who are connected or linked to other agents forming a network and who are constrained or enabled by the world they inhabit. Computational modeling can be used to help analyze, reason about, predict the behavior of, and possibly control such complex systems of "networked" agents.

This course is based on the simulation of complex socio-technical systems. This course teaches the student how to design, analyze, and evaluate such computational models. It will introduce several styles of simulation including agent based and system dynamics. Examples of applications of these tools to various problems such as epidemiology, organizational adaptation, information diffusion, impact of new technology on groups, and so on, will be discussed. The course should be appropriate for graduate students in all areas. This course does not teach programming. Issues covered include: common computational approaches such as multi-agent systems, general simulation and system dynamics, heuristic based optimization procedures including simulated annealing and genetic algorithms, representation schemes for complex systems (particularly, groups, organizations, tasks, networks and technology), analysis techniques such as virtual experiments and response surface mapping, docking (model-to-model analysis), validation and verification, and social Turing tests. Illustrative models will be drawn from recent publications in a wide variety of areas including distributed artificial intelligence, knowledge management, dynamic network analysis, computational organization theory, computational sociology, computational epidemiology, and computational economics.

Auxiliary Readings

Previously taught courses