Mirsad Hadžikadić, President of the Computational Social Science Society of the Americas (CSSSA) kicked off this year’s annual conference in Santa Fe on 26th October. Attendees were from across the Americas, as well as Europe and Asia and we were all looking forward to two days of talks, discussions and presentations focused on peer-reviewed computational social science research.
Day one featured a variety of topics being discussed, including an entertaining panel discussion on fake news and misinformation. Leigh Tesfatsion delivered the main talk of the day on agent-based computational economics (ACE). Tesfatsion defines ACE as the computational modeling of economic processes (including whole economies) as open-ended dynamic systems of interacting agents. Leigh outlined seven modelling principles and you can read more about these and ACE here.
Andrew Collins presented Ryan J. Roberts work on: Islamic Extremism and the Crystallization of Norms. Ryan used NetLogo, an agent-based modeling software, to simulate the crystallization of radical Islamic norms among prison inmates. The results of the study suggested that the most effective housing strategy is to segregate Islamic radicals from regular population inmates.
Peter Chew timely and interesting research focused on the activity of russian bots. He highlighted the internet research agency in Russia who have been running a large-scale social media troll army for the past few years. Bots are used for Twitter influence but ads a more effective on Facebook. An important point was that it is a positive step to engage in information warfare but staying true to our values is a must.
The day finished with some 2 minute lightning talks presenting the posters displayed at the conference.
Abduljaleel Al Rubaye presented his paper in the morning session of day 2 aiming to understand the effects of Github on code adoption over time. The model tracks relations between repository users and followers to generate a social structure.
The conference was closed by Mirta Galesic, Professor of Human Social Dynamics at the Santa Fe Institute who presented her recent work in complexity dynamics and voting patterns in the recent US Elections. Mirta and her co-authors propose that you achieve higher levels of predictions if you ask them how their friends will vote instead of the current system of inquiring about their own voting intentions. “Responses to social-circle questions predicted election outcomes on national, state and individual levels, helped to explain last-minute changes in people’s voting intentions and provided information about the dynamics of echo chambers among supporters of different candidates.”