• Monday, 14:15-15:45
  • A 213

First Session

  • 05/11/2007


  • Klaus G. Troitzsch

Intended Audience

  • Bachelor of Science in Information Management (2001 version): 3rd year
  • Computer Science: 3rd or 4th year
  • Master of Science (all programmes): 1st or 2nd year


Presentation of a simulation model or a simulation tool

Related Event



The aim of this module is a broad introduction into all approaches to simulation in the social sciences. Being not only a ZUMA workshop, but also part of the computer science and information management programmes of the Computer Science Faculty of Koblenz-Landau University (KLU), this module is designed for students in their 5th or 7th semester. It covers the basics of modelling and simulation in the social sciences from different points of view (mathematics, computer science, philosophy of science) and of seven different approaches to computer simulation in the social sciences.

By the end of this module, a student should understand

  • what simulation is good for in the social sciences and which steps should be taken to arrive at a useful computer simulation and he or she should know
  • which approaches have been followed by social scientist in the past decades, what the aims of these approaches were and which advantages and shortcomings these approaches have.

Moreover, students should be able to make use of a number of different simulation tools and have gained some experience in designing their own models.


  1. Overview/Simulation and Social Science — history, taxonomy, motives, simulation from a philosophy of science point of view (05/11/2007)
  2. Simulation as a Method — logic of simulation, stages of simulation-based research (12/11/2007)
  3. Systems Dynamics and World Models — classical approaches to macro simulation, differential equations, macro simulation tools, qualitative simulation (19/11/2007)
  4. Microanalytical Simulation Models — classical approaches to micro simulation, tax and pension models, recent tools (26/11/2007)
  5. Queuing Models — discrete event simulation, business process modeling, tools (03/12/2007)
  6. Multilevel Modelling — modelling global interactions between populations, groups and individuals, stochastic processes, synergetics (17/12/2007)
  7. Cellular Automata — game theory, modelling local interactions in large populations of identical actors (07/01/2008)
  8. Distributed Artificial Intelligence Models — agent based social simulation (14/01/2008)
  9. Learning and Evolutionary Models — artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms (21/01/2008)
  10. More models (depending on the time left between the lecture part and the lab, discussion and presentation part of the course) (28/01/2008)


Students will present models from various available toolboxes, master students will additionally write an essay. Details will be given during chapters 3 through 9 of the lecture part (master students: 24/01/2008, 09:00-16:00 A 308, bachelor and diploma students: tba in the second half of April 2008)

Organisation of the Discussion Classes

This list addresses only the bachelor students. The following topics will be discussed in three morning meetings (March 20, April 16 and April 25, starting at 09:00 each in A 308). Presentations should be prepared and done in groups of up to four students, presentations should not exceed 60 minutes per group, including the discussions, smaller groups give shorter presentations. The following topics were attributed to the following groups and dates:




Slight changes of this schedule are still possible; if they occur they will be marked in boldface.

Organisation of the Seminar

This list addresses only the master students.

Thursday (24/01/2008) 09:00-11:30

Thursday (24/01/2008) 12:30-14:30

Thursday (24/01/2008) 14:45-16:00

Basic Reading

Nigel Gilbert and Klaus G. Troitzsch: Simulation for the Social Scientist 1999. Open University Press. London; second edition 2005