The Simulation Laboratory for Social Sciences

director: Luis Casasus PhD

The goal of the Simulation Laboratory for Social Sciences is to offer a broad and simple view about some new alternatives to test hypotheses and to perform “what-if” analyses in the field of Human Development, especially in the area of Health and Poverty.

It is clear that many Development processes need to be replicated beforehand, to provide a more detailed view of the system composed by people, environment and policies. With the advancements in computer hardware and software, this is actually possible through computer simulation.

For social scientists, the traditional methods of modeling include statistical modeling, formal modeling and agent-based modeling. These are the three families of methods to be presented in the Simulation Lab. Modeling and simulation in social sciences is not a new endeavor, but its scope is increasingly broad in Health problems. Nevertheless, many conceptual difficulties are still to be answered in the fields of Poverty and Migration and this will be a matter of special interest both in our research and in the practical simulation components offered for the different courses. In particular, we intend to explore the scenarios of different migration patterns, which have been, in practice, major challenges for very different countries. This is an on-going controversial issue.

System Dynamics Method will be probably the approach of choice for the SL. However, in some cases agent-based modeling deserves preferential attention, particularly when it is about exploring anthropological factors.