Online tutorial: MBSSM

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Event details

Tuesday 15 September 2020


Recording of the MBSSM tutorial 

Organisers: Tuong Manh Vu, Charlotte Buckley, Robin C. Purshouse (University of Sheffield)


Timing Topic
09.00 - 09.15 An introduction to the general micro-macro scheme
09.15 - 09.35 Introducing the MBSSM architecture and introduction to UML
09.35 - 09.55 Applications of the architecture: models of alcohol use using a single theory (social norms)
10.00 - 10.20 Applications of the architecture: models of alcohol use using multiple theories (social norms and social contagion)
10.20 - 10.40 Applications of the architecture: calibration of MBSSM models to alcohol use data
10.40 - 10.50 Conclusions
10.50 - 11.00 Q & A


This tutorial introduces the recently published MBSSM (Mechanism-Based Social Systems Modelling) software architecture. The MBSSM architecture is designed for expressing mechanisms of social theories with individual behaviour components in a unified way and implementing these mechanisms in an agent-based simulation model.

The architecture is based on a middle-range theory approach most recently expounded by analytical sociology and is designed in the object-oriented programming paradigm with Unified Modelling Language diagrams.

The tutorial presents two examples of using the architecture for modelling individual behaviour mechanisms that give rise to the dynamics of population-level alcohol use: a single-theory model of norm theory and a multi-theory model that combines norm theory with contagion theory. The tutorial also briefly discusses the research front of “structural calibration” (described variously as “theory discovery”, “model discovery”, “model crunching”, and “inverse generative social science”).

The attendees should recognize a fundamental enabling role of the architecture within a wider simulation model-based framework of abductive reasoning in which families of theories are tested for their ability to explain concrete social phenomena.

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