Team presence at the Social Simulation Conference 2023

by Thorid Wagenblast & Liz Verbeek

In the beginning of September, a selection of our team traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to attend the yearly Social Simulation Conference, organised by the European Social Simulation Association (ESSA). The conference gathers researchers from the social simulation and agent-based modelling fields and is a great community for collaboration, exchange and networking. It was great to hear what is going on in the community, and we attended various interesting sessions on topics like risk modelling or inequality but also more methodological topics like standards in agent-based modelling and the potential of exascale computing for social simulation.

This year, Tatiana was invited to give a keynote talk about her extensive contribution to social simulation for climate change. We enjoyed it very much to learn more about all the work she has done on before we started working on our projects within the SC3 team. Impressive!

In one of the sessions on meta-modeling, Liz gave a presentation on the Agent-based Building Block Architecture (ABBA) project that she has been working on with Tatiana and several colleagues at the TU Delft. The project explores the concept of ‘reusable building blocks’ for agent-based models, rooted in the idea that our models are built up from modules that describe processes relevant in many cases, and that may be employed across (agent-based) models already. The ABBA project is developing a standardized, tested framework and a platform to share such ‘reusable building blocks’. The Social Simulation Conference provided a wonderful opportunity to discuss our ideas for this project.

Later during the week, Thorid presented on the survey data we recently collected among households in coastal cities in four countries (funded by ERC SCALAR). This included a questionnaire on how to gather data on social interactions in the context of adaptation to flooding and how she plans to use the data in an agent-based model to model more realistic networks of social influence in the context of climate change adaptation and decisions under risk. This is an essential part of understanding how social tipping points in transformational adaptation to climate change could emerge and evolve (VIDI).

In general, Glasgow was very good to us. Next to the good conversations at the conference, we got to enjoy very un-scottish 26 °C sunny weather and made the best of our time visiting places like the necropolis and cathedral, various parks or the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

To end with, we like to add some travel advice: we can recommend taking the Eurostar from Rotterdam or Amsterdam to London in the afternoon, getting dinner in London and then taking the Caledonian Sleeper Nighttrain in the late evening, arriving well rested in Glasgow in the morning. It does not feel like a long trip and is better for the environment compared to a flight!

We had a great time with all TU Delft colleagues!