Small Online Private Course on Complex Adaptive Systems

SPOC, Small Online Private Course, on Complex Adaptive Systems

This course comprises seven short videos and some links to
other sources. You can take it as a primer on what the study of Complex
Adaptive Systems through agent-based models can bring to the life sciences. It takes half an hour.

For whom?
This course is for policy makers, researchers, students, or anyone else who wants to understand how complex systems in the life sciences can be studied. In particular, to see how their dynamic behaviour can be 'grown' through agent-based models.

Why?
Wageningen is committed to studying how to improve the
resilience of socio-technical and socio-ecological systems. This is vital for
our planet’s health and for our survival. For these aims, systems under study should be studied in ways that do justice to their complexity. Complex Adaptive Systems are therefore a core element of Wageningen
University and Research’s strategic plan
. Policies that take a complex systems perspective are likely to be less haphazard and more effective than others.

What?

Complex Adaptive Systems are complex in that their outputs
are not a linear function of their inputs. They are adaptive in that their
elements, humans, technical artefacts, ecosystems or other, can adapt to the state of the system as they perceive it. Your best point of entry into the SPOC is a five-minute introduction video into the concept of Complex Adaptive Systems that you can find here:

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How?
Complex Adaptive Systems can be studied by creating models of them and letting these models run in simulated time. In this way, all possible behaviours of the system, depending on their inputs, can be investigated. A type of modelling that allows to model the diversity between individuals and their environments is agent-based modelling. If you want to try for yourself, the NetLogo freeware software tool contains a large library of sample models from all disciplines. Models used in research will usually be more specific, and better validated against a real case under study; but the library gives a good idea of what an agent-based model can do.

What happens at Wageningen?
Wageningen University & Research has had a strategic theme
Complex Adaptive Systems running in 2011-2015. Many PhD researchers were funded through that programme and are publishing their results in the period 2016-2018.
Here on the right-hand side of the screen we show some videos in which five of them explain their project as of 2016.

Let's meet in Silico!
The expertise gained in the Complex Adaptive Systems strategic theme is carried into the future by the virtual SiLico centre Wageningen.

Silico organises lectures, as well as Summer Schools, collaborating with the European Social Simulation Association, ESSA. Lectures are announced on the Silico site[GJH1].

Below you can find a 3-minute summary of the 2015 ESSA Summer School. The next upcoming event is the ESSA / Silico Summer School 2017, 26-30 June in Wageningen.

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You can email gertjan.hofstede@wur.nl, arend.ligtenberg@wur.nl or George.vanvoorn@wur.nl for more information.