New free coursera course on “Model Thinking” in NetLogo, Oct 6th – Dec 15th 2014

Model Thinking

By Scott E. Page of the University of Michigan. In this class, you will learn how to think with models and use them to make sense of the complex world around us.

About the Course

We live in a complex world with diverse people, firms, and governments whose behaviors aggregate to produce novel, unexpected phenomena. We see political uprisings, market crashes, and a never ending array of social trends. How do we make sense of it? Models. Evidence shows that people who think with models consistently outperform those who don’t. And, moreover people who think with lots of models outperform people who use only one. Why do models make us better thinkers? Models help us to better organize information – to make sense of that fire hose or hairball of data (choose your metaphor) available on the Internet. Models improve our abilities to make accurate forecasts. They help us make better decisions and adopt more effective strategies. They even can improve our ability to design institutions and procedures. In this class, I present a starter kit of models: I start with models of tipping points. I move on to cover models explain the wisdom of crowds, models that show why some countries are rich and some are poor, and models that help unpack the strategic decisions of firm and politicians. The models covered in this class provide a foundation for future social science classes, whether they be in economics, political science, business, or sociology. Mastering this material will give you a huge leg up in advanced courses. They also help you in life. Here’s how the course will work. For each model, I present a short, easily digestible overview lecture. Then, I’ll dig deeper. I’ll go into the technical details of the model. Those technical lectures won’t require calculus but be prepared for some algebra. For all the lectures, I’ll offer some questions and we’ll have quizzes and even a final exam. If you decide to do the deep dive, and take all the quizzes and the exam, you’ll receive a certificate of completion. If you just decide to follow along for the introductory lectures to gain some exposure that’s fine too. It’s all free. And it’s all here to help make you a better thinker!

Subtitles for all video lectures available in: English, Chinese (provided by Yeeyan), Ukrainian (Pinchuk Foundation), and Turkish (provided by Turkcell Akademi).


Week long ABM course using NetLogo in Leipzig, September 15-19, 2014.

Due do some cancellations, we still have a few places free in our course on agent-based/individual-based modelling, given by Steve Railsback, Daniel Ayllon, and me in Leipzig, September 15-19, 2014.

The course is designed for those who consider or plan to teach agent-based modelling, but in previous courses we also have accepted postdocs and PhD students. We teach how to teach by just teaching: we treat all participants as beginners (which many of the participants in our earlier course were), and make them do exercises taken from our texbook.

More infos on the course are available here: and below. The course fee is 450 Euros, which includes instruction, lunches, and several social events. The fee does not include transportation or lodging.

If you have interest, please contact me (

A Summer School: Computer Programming for Social Scientists (Java)

TALISMAN Summer School: Computer Programming for Social Scientists
July 15-19, 2013 at the University of Leeds

The TALISMAN node of the National Centre for Research Methods is pleased to offer a five-day summer school on computer programming for social scientists. The school aims to bring social scientists without any programming experience to the point where they can program their own social science models and applications. It will provide a beginners’-level introduction to computer programming using examples drawn from social science. It will also introduce key libraries, methodologies, and platforms available for social science programmers.

Students will learn the high-level programming language Java. Java was chosen because it is the most in-demand language in industry, and because people who learn the language should have no difficulty picking up other languages.

The school offers a unique, hands-on learning experience. Practical work will include building up core social science models, and will introduce students to Spatial Interaction Modelling, Microsimulation, Agent-based modelling, Genetic Algorithms and other Artificial Intelligence techniques, Statistical Analysis and Scientific Visualisation. Each day there will be a two hour “hacking” workshop for students to build their own software with advice from experienced staff.

We welcome applications from postgraduate students/researcher and academics. The deadline for applications is April 30, 2013

For further information and to apply, please visit:

Amy O’Neill
TALISMAN Project Assistant
School of Geography
Faculty of Environment
University of Leeds

Tel: 0113 343 7992

The course has now finished…

…but the materials, slides and accompanying example models will remain here, freely accessible for any educational use.  To access them use the links just below, or from the menus above, in particular the “Course Outline” menu from the pages on each session.

If you have any queries about the materials, please contact me, the author of them,
Bruce Edmonds.


If you want… before the course you could:

  1. Read the bookSimulation for the Social Scientist (2nd Edition)” (
  2. Download and install NetLogo on your laptop (
  3. Goto the Course Facebook page ( and then “Join Group
  4. Open up NetLogo and look at it on your laptop
  5. Try the tutorial in the NetLogo manual (Help>>NetLogo User Manual  within Netlogo then Tutorial #1: Models etc. or go straight to

Welcome to the website for the 2-day Introduction to Agent-Based Modelling

This site will host information relevant to the course.  The site is currently being developed, and will contain more information shortly.  If you are a course participant, please bookmark this page for easy reference, since this is where you will find all the course materials.

We were overwhelmed with requests to participate, so we were only able to accept some of those that wished to come. I am sorry to all those that were not selected, but the room we have will not safely accommodate more people.  If you have been told you have a place but cannot take it up please tell us, so we can make the place available to another.

Looking forward to seeing you all in a months time!