851-0585-04L  Lecture with Computer Exercises: Modelling and Simulating Social Systems with MATLAB

SemesterAutumn Semester 2014
LecturersO. Woolley, D. Biasini, D. Helbing, T. Kuhn
Periodicityyearly course
Language of instructionEnglish


AbstractThis course introduces the mathematical software package MATLAB.

Students should learn to implement models of various social processes
and systems, and document their skills by a seminar thesis, as well as giving a short oral presentation.
ObjectiveThe students should learn how to use MATLAB as a tool to solve
various scientific problems. MATLAB is an integrated environment with a high level programming language which makes it possible to quickly find numerical solutions to a wide range of scientific problems. Furthermore, it includes a rich set of tools for graphically
presenting the results.

After the students have learned the basic structure of the programming language, they should be able to implement social simulation models in MATLAB and document their skills by a seminar thesis and finally give a short oral presentation.
ContentThis course introduces first the basic functionalities and features of the mathematical software package MATLAB, such as the simple operations with matrices and vectors, differential equations, statistical tools, the graphical representation of data in various forms, and video animations of spatio-temporal data. With this knowledge, students are expected to implement themselves in MATLAB, models of various social processes and systems, including agent-based models, e.g. models of interactive decision making, group dynamics, human crowds, or game-theoretical models.

Part of this course will consist of supervised programming exercises in a computer pool. Credit points are finally earned for the implementation of a mathematical model from the sociological literature in MATLAB and the documentation in a seminar thesis.
Lecture notesThe lecture slides will be presented on the course web page after each lecture.
Literature[1] MATLAB Primer, Seventh Edition, Timothy A. Davis and Kermit Sigmon, (Chapman & Hall, 2004).
[2] MATLAB kompakt, Wolfgang Schweizer, (Oldenbourg, 2006)

Further literature, in particular regarding computer models in the
social sciences, will be provided in the course.
Prerequisites / NoticeThe number of participants is limited to the size of the available computer teaching room. The MATLAB code related to the seminar thesis should be well enough documented for further use by others and must be handed over to the Chair of Sociology, in particular of Modeling and Simulation, for further free and unrestricted use.