Seminar: Social Simulation

Dozent:innen: Michel Schilperoord
Kurzname: S Wahlveranstaltung
Kurs-Nr.: 02.149.16910
Kurstyp: Seminar
Format: online

Voraussetzungen / Organisatorisches


  1. Bachelor Studierende im Studiengang Soziologie (Kernfach) [po 2011, 2016]
  2. Bachelor Studierende im Studiengang Soziologie (Beifach) [po 2016]
  3. Bachelor Studierende im Studiengang Wirtschaftspädagogik (Schwerpunktfach "Sozialwissenschaften")

Stellung im Studiengang:

  1. B.A. Soziologie Kernfach: Modul "Wahlveranstaltung Soziologie (Vertiefung)" [po 2011]
  2. B.A. Soziologie Kernfach: Wahlveranstaltung im Modul "Vertiefungs- und Wahlveranstaltungen 1" [po 2016]


  1. B.A. Soziologie Kernfach: Wahlveranstaltung im Modul "Vertiefungs- und Wahlveranstaltungen 2" [po 2016]
  2. B.Sc. Wirtschaftspädagogik Schwerpunktfach "Sozialwissenschaften": Modul "Aufbaumodul Soziologie"



Social Simulation is a type of modelling for social scientists and computer scientists which has been gaining interest as a result of extremely affordable computing power and a rising interest in complex systems methods and approaches to understanding the world. Many approaches to simulation are now accessible to social scientists with some programming skills who seek to develop a deeper understanding of social and economic issues and problems, centering on “complexity” ideas: evolution, adaptation, nonlinear behavior, emergence and self-organization. These approaches have become essential tools for social scientists in a wide range of fields, sociology, economics, cognitive psychology, organizational theory, political science and geography, and are now also part of the toolbox for computer scientists interested in distributed artificial intelligence and multi-agent technologies. Of primary concern are multi-level simulation models that allow simultaneous consideration of multiple levels of systems and processes of interest (social, economic, environmental), and have users alternate between views on macro and micro behaviors, and possibly levels in between. The most common approach to multi-level simulation, agent-based modelling, allows for hetero­geneity in simulated behaviors of the “agents” on the lower levels (representing, for instance, individuals, groups, organizations or networks). This provides to scientists the opportunity for (much) higher degrees of detail when observing “in silico” complex evolutionary phenomena, as opposed to some very abstract mathematical models.

This seminar offers an introduction to common approaches in Social Simulation. It opens up questions with regard to opportunities and limitations that characterize the state-of-the-art for each simulation method (on its own, but without disregarding the projects that seek to develop “hybrid” modelling techniques across strands of simulation research, building first and foremost on agent-based approaches). It will also assist in developing appreciation for the common elements of Social Simulation workflows, for instance: the theoretical discussion of a model’s conceptual framework, the data-to-model links, and communication of results of simulation research.

Learning outcomes:
This course covers a survey of practical examples of how leading modelers in social sciences apply Social Simulation for achieving a better understanding of certain social and economic issues and problems. On the theoretical side, it will provide an overview of Social Simulation and foundational knowledge on its common methods, their differences, with key literature systematically reviewed. On the practical side, it will provide guidance for reasoning about which types of modelling may be suitable for application to certain social and economic issues and problems, and how to make choices with regard design and implementation of a simulation project.

Course Requirements and assignments:

Assignment 1: Pre-class preparation

This assignment is about producing excerpts (1 page per text) from the text book.
Each student is asked to agree with the instructor on seven excerpts taken from the different sections of the textbook. The excerpts will be uploaded on Jugostine five days before the block seminar dates.

Assignment 2: Class presentation

This assignment is about presentation of a topic in class.
Each student is asked to discuss his/her choice with the instructor, and prepare a session from the syllabus. In certain cases, this can be done in cooperation.

Assignment 3: Simulation project

This assignment is post-class work on a simulation project concerning one topic of the syllabus (mostly the one chosen for presentation). The students need to present a short abstract and the contents structure for their simulation project to the instructor 10 days after the block seminar dates. The deadline for essay submission is the end of Term.

Recommended reading list:
Gilbert, N., Troitzsch, K. (eds.) (2005): Simulation for the Social Scientist, Second Edition, Open University Press.

Zusätzliche Informationen

Weitere Informationen zu den Vertiefungs- und Wahlveranstaltungen finden Sie hier:


Datum (Wochentag) Zeit Ort
20.04.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
27.04.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
04.05.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
11.05.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
18.05.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
25.05.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
01.06.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
08.06.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
15.06.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
22.06.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
29.06.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
06.07.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
13.07.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online
20.07.2022 (Mittwoch) 10:15 - 11:45 Online