I decided to bump this post to front of the blog as I am getting ready to dust off this material in anticipation of the 2011 ICPSR Course in Complex Systems Models in the Social Sciences. The course will be offered as part of Session #2 of the ICPSR Program in Quantitative Methods. It has two components (1) morning lectures on complex systems theory and (2) a late afternoon session on complex systems / computational model implementation.
Unlike many courses that relegate model/data implementation to self-teaching, etc. in the ICPSR Summer Course in Complex Systems, we take implementation seriously. Indeed, I believe our emphasis on implementation is a distinguishing feature of the course. In my experience, implementation mechanics are typically the impediment that many scholars face in generating models capable of being published in academic journals. Implementation is the bridge between concept and scientific contribution.
In the computing module, I (together with my colleagues) highlight the methods of complex systems as well as several environments designed to explore this rich and growing intellectual field. These include Netlogo (agent based models and network models), Vensim (system dynamics / ecological modeling) and Pajek (empirical network analysis). In the final week, we cover a variety of advanced topics:
- (a) Community Detection in Networks
- (b) Computational Linguistics / Natural Language Processing
- (c) Diffusion Models and Mathematical Modeling with Data
- (d) Exponential Random Graph (p*) Models
- (e) Information Retrieval / Webscraping
Although, we do not work with more advanced languages within the course, those who need to conduct complex analysis are directed to alternatives such as R, Python, Java, etc.
Anyway, the slides were designed to be fully self-contained and thus allow for individually paced study of the relevant material. If you work through the slides carefully you should be able to learn the software as well as many of the core principles associated with the science of complex systems. Although the 2010 course material should be available indefinitely, I do plan to add some new material for the 2011 session. In particular, we plan to highlight Nova — a new software package developed in the Oberlin Computer Science Department by Richard Salter. Stay tuned for more in July / August 2011 ….