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-1- MNGT0783 Simulation for the Social Sciences Doctoral programme, Term 3, 2004.

By Hours/week Over Weeks and Robert Marks


The purpose of the course is to introduce research students to tools of simulation in the social sciences and some applications, in economics, in strategy, inapplied psychology, and in policy. Goals: To acquaint doctoral students with some of the many approaches to simulation in the social sciences, their strengths and weaknesses, and their appropriateness for particular kinds and areas of research. “‘Simulation means driving a model of a system with suitable inputs and observing the corresponding outputs. ’ (Bratley, Fox & Schrage 1987, ix). While this definition is useful, it does not suggest the diverse purposes to which simulation can be put. These purposes include: prediction, performance, training, entertainment, education, proof and discovery.” “Simulation is a third way of doing science. Like deduction, it starts with a set of explicit assumptions. But unlike deduction, it does not prove theorems. Instead, a simulation generates data that can be analyzed inductively. Unlike typical induction, however, the simulated data comes from a rigorously specified set of rules rather than direct measurement of the real world. While induction can be used to find patterns in data, and deduction can be used to find consequences of assumptions, simulation modeling can be used as an aid in intuition.” “Simulation is a way of doing thought experiments. While the assumptions may be simple, the consequences may not be at all obvious. The large-scale effects of locally interacting agents are called “emergent properties ” of the system. Emergent properties are often surprising because it can be hard to anticipate the full consequences of even simple forms of interaction. ” (Axelrod, 2003) 2. Units of credit: 2units (15 hours of class contact time)

Topics: 1. Rationale for the Course
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