Semiotix XN-7 (2012) World Report

World Report – Epistemological Perspective on Simulation

Dante Suarez

Simulation is a creative and epistemologically-delicate process that has attracted growing attention since the 1990s, both in the natural and the social sciences. It is the imitation of the operation of a real-world process or system over time. The act of simulating something first requires that a model be developed; this model represents the key characteristics or behavior of the selected physical or abstract system or process. The model represents the system itself, whereas the simulation represents the operation of the system overtime. The crucial role of simulation in theorizing, modelling, and understanding complex systems, and its increasing use for decision-making in concrete problems and/or public policy, has led the theorizing of simulation to an entirely new level of attention. At the same time, a huge community of researchers are utilizing simulation with a set of tools, methods, and concepts, in an intense cross-disciplinary atmosphere, with obvious interest in investigating the conditions for the successful use of simulation. The recognition that progress in the science of simulation must go hand in hand with the semiotic analysis of its epistemological status has been an important motivation for the organization of the Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation (EPOS) workshops since 2004.

The first EPOS workshop, organized by Ulrich Frank and Klaus Troitzsch in 2004 at the University of Koblenz-Landau, Germany, was successful in bringing together researchers from the social, natural and computational sciences, as well as philosophers of science, to debate and elaborate on epistemological perspectives of simulation. The results of the meeting were published, after a further reviewing process, in a special issue of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (volume 8(4), 2005). The second EPOS workshop, organized by Flaminio Squazzoni in 2006 at the University of Brescia, Italy, amplified this constructive atmosphere. Once more the positive and constructive outcome that the encounter of researchers and philosophers of science produces became clear. The articles were collected by Squazzoni, Troitzsch, and Frank after a further reviewing process, and have been published in Epistemological Aspects of Computer Simulation in the Social Sciences: Second International Workshop, EPOS 2006, Brescia, Italy, October 5-6, 2006 (Springer, Berlin, 2009). The third EPOS workshop was organized by Nuno David, José Castro Caldas, and Helder Coelho, Portugal. It took place in Lisbon, Portugal, October 2-3, 2008. Again the workshop provided an excellent multidisciplinary forum for researchers from various disciplines, such as the social sciences, economics, computer science, engineering, natural sciences or philosophy to discuss epistemological aspects of simulation. Moreover, the workshop attracted a considerable number of researchers from overseas. A selection of papers presented there was published in a special issue of the Journal of Artificial Societies and Social Simulation (volume 13(1), 2010). The fourth EPOS workshop, organized by Matthias Meyer and Klaus G. Troitzsch, on June 23-25, 2010, continued the growing tradition of these workshops and their lively atmosphere. Like its predecessors, it provided a forum for interdisciplinary exchange and discussion. Moreover, it benefited from the evident growth of contributions in the literature on the methodology and epistemology of simulation since the first meeting in 2004. A selection of papers is currently under review for publication in a special issue of Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory.

Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas

The fifth edition of Epistemological Perspectives on Simulation will be held at Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas (USA). It will be the first one to be organized outside Europe. It will bring together simulation experts, modelers, scientists and philosophers of science to share the latest advancements in simulation technology, its applications, as well as potential benefits and drawbacks. Like its predecessors the workshop wants to provide a forum for researchers from various disciplines, such as the social sciences, computer science, engineering or the natural sciences, who are interested in discussing epistemological aspects of simulation across disciplinary boundaries. Topics to be addressed in the workshop include, but are not restricted to issues such as the epistemology of simulation, credentials for model building, and standards for presenting and analyzing simulation results. Following the tradition of previous EPOS workshops, we will publish a selection of the accepted papers in a special issue of a journal after a further reviewing process. This time, there will be a special issue of the International Journal of Agent Technologies and Systems (IJATS). We encourage all interested scholars to attend the conference, whether to present a full-length paper, a position paper, or simply to participate in the discussion.

 

The event will have a broad scope and be fully interdisciplinary. Some examples of questions that this workshop will address include:

 

  • How simulation differs from traditional methodologies in its description of reality?
  • In which ways is it a better methodology?
  • For which real-world phenomena is simulation best suited?
  • Through simulation, researchers can often model a more detailed representation of physical, natural and social phenomena. What aspects of reality are best understood through simulation?
  • How should the methodology of simulation be evaluated and validated? Should increase predictive capacity be the evaluating norm?
  • How do different levels of reality interact? How can model interaction address this coexistence and thus allow for the creation of meta-simulations and macro-modeling?
  • How can agency be understood in context?
  • Can simulation help us develop more precise languages to express social phenomena?

 

The fifth instalment of EPOS will be held at Trinity University, in San Antonio Texas, USA, on October 10 – 12, 2012. The event’s purpose is to bring together European, North American and other international researchers to discuss the latest advances in simulation theory and applications.

Important deadlines are as follows:

July 1, 2012: Submission of papers or extended abstracts
August 21, 2012: Notification of acceptance
September 15, 2012: Receipt of full papers
October 10-12, 2012: Workshop, San Antonio, Texas, USA

The costs of the conference are set to cover the price of meals, entertainment and transportation:

$280 USD regular fee

$180 USD for students

Authors are requested to send their papers (about 5,000-8,000 words) or an extended abstract of about 1000 words in electronic format (.doc, .rtf or .pdf format) via e-mail to Dante Suarez (epos@trinity.edu). Authors should include all the details about surname, first name, affiliation, mailing address, country, and e-mail inside the e-mail text (not inside the abstract). Each abstract will be reviewed by two members of the program committee at least. The committee will consider also abstracts, although full papers are preferred. For any information, please contact Dante Suarez (esuarez@trinity.edu).

More information is available at:   www.trinity.edu/epos

VISIT SAN ANTONIO

San Antonio, Texas

More than 26 million people visit San Antonio each year and experience the city’s cultural diversity. From Spanish colonial rule to Texas independence, and ultimately statehood, San Antonio draws from its history and intense cultural fusion–so much so, that the city once had street signs in three languages: Spanish, English, and German.

Walk back in time to colonial Spanish days at one of San Antonio’s five missions that spread European culture and converted the native people to Christianity— forever changing the face of the Southwest. In the 18th century, the Spanish church established the five Catholic missions along the San Antonio River, primarily to extend its dominion northward from Mexico, but also to convert the native population. What remains of the largest concentration of missions in North America provides an interesting look into Texas’ history.

The first mission established in San Antonio, the Alamo served as a way station between east Texas and Mexico. It was already 100 years old when it fell in the notorious Battle of the Alamo and became an inspiration and a motivation for liberty during the Texas Revolution, and it is now one of the most important icons of history in the United States.

San Antonio, Texas

San Antonio has one of the most interesting emerging contemporary art scenes in the world. In May 2011, American Style magazine named San Antonio one of America’s top 25 cities for art. San Antonio’s deep, rich connections to Latin America, the American frontier west, and African American culture figure prominently in the local art scene.
Sparked by San Antonio’s long history as an international crossroads, the city’s lively art scene reflects the city’s confluence of cultures. As the city’s reputation as an artistic hub spreads, more visitors are venturing off the River Walk to where the city’s creative tribe lives, works and plays.

 

About the author

Dante Suarez is an Associate Professor of Finance and International Business in Trinity University, in San Antonio, Texas, USA. For the past decade, Dr. Suarez has been conducting research in the nascent field of complex adaptive systems, exploring the way in which agents interact with each other and their environments to create the rich dynamics of innovation, evolution and adaptation we see in society. Dr. Suarez collaborates with computer scientists to create multi-leveled computer simulations of societies, cultural and political ideologies, trading economies and urban landscapes. The methodology developed for this research agenda is based on the description of contextualized agents that locally create the networks that give rise to institutions, law and order, efficient allocation of resources and economic development. These simulations are based on nonlinear models that would be intractable in the linear approach that had been previously used in the analysis of social systems, and allow for computational analysis and experimentation that would be impossible to achieve in the real world. Contact: esuarez@trinity.edu

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