Language: 中文
2019 Huazhong Agricultural University - Imperial College London Summer School on Methodologies of Computational Social Science

The surge of big data and the development of computer technologies have provided new research paradigms and powerful tools for the study of complex problems such as the interaction between heterogeneous individuals, feedback between micro-behaviour and macro-dynamics in economics, management, sociology, politics, pedagogy, journalism and communication, psychology, transportation and so on. Computational Social Science (CSS), a new discipline, comes into being and grows rapidly. CSS is a cross-disciplinary filed emerged due to increasing applications of computer technologies and big data analysis in social sciences. However, computational research methods (computer simulation, complex network analysis, etc.) is an insurmountable threshold for many social scientists to enter this field.

In order to lower the threshold of using computational methods in social sciences, Macro Agriculture Research Institute (MARI), Huazhong Agricultural University and Urban Systems Lab, Imperial College London (ICL) organise the summer school on methodology of computational social science jointly. This school aims to help researchers master the tools of computational social sciences research such as computer simulation. MARI has invited four lecturers who have rich experience in using computer simulation models to study social science issues. They will provide systematic training about simulation modelling theories, methods and applications.


Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan, China


July 22nd, 2019 – July 28th, 2019


This summer School is open to teachers and students all over the country who are interested in using computer simulation methods to engage in academic research (not only in the field of social sciences). Because the teaching language is English, participants need to have a certain level of English listening ability (if necessary, key information will be interpreted in Chinese, but no full translation will be provided). Participants are advised to bring their own laptops and install NetLogo software in advance (the download address is

Syllabus and Schedule



July 22nd

§ Modelling and simulation in social sciences

§ Systems science and model   types: statistical, Markov, system dynamics, and ABM

§ Matching a modelling approach to the study objective

July 23rd

§ The ODD protocol: ABM objectives and components (agents,   rules, environments, networks)

§ Model parameterisation and calibration

§ Simulation scenarios and the analysis of the results

§ Social network simulation

July 24th

§ Introduction to NetLogo and syntax, looking at some   examples and how they are implemented

§ Students implementing their first “hello world” ABM to get   familiar with the software

July 25th

§ Introduction of a simplified scenario linked to the   agriculture sector, and design a model together on paper

§ Translating (part of) the model formulation to syntax and   implementing this in NetLogo

July 26th

§ Some applications of ABM e.g. spatially explicit   agent-based model

§ Comparison between simulation tools (e.g. MASON, Repast) or   teach one of them if it is highly demanded

July 27th

§ Sensitivity analysis of agent-based models

§ Hypothesis test using computational model

July 28th

§ Simulation of human-nature interactions in agricultural   systems

§ Simulation of feedback between farmers’ decision-making and   agricultural policies


[1] Railsback, S.F. and Grimm, V., 2019. Agent-based and individual-based modelling: a practical introduction. Princeton University Press.

[2] Gilbert, N. and Troitzsch, K., 2005. Simulation for the Social Scientist. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

[3] Van Dam, K.H., Nikolic, I. and Lukszo, Z. eds., 2012. Agent-based modelling of socio-technical systems (Vol. 9). Springer Science & Business Media.


Dr. Koen H. van Dam is a research fellow at the Centre for Process Systems Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering of Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Koen is a knowledge engineer specialising in the development of agent-based simulation models of urban infrastructure systems. In 2013 Springer published the book “Agent-based modelling of socio-technical systems” by van Dam, Nikolic and Lukszo (Eds.) ISBN 978-94-007-4932-0. He has taught ABM to graduates and young teachers for many years. His research covers simulation and policy analysis of urban sustainable design, smart city, distributed energy technology, interaction between social and technological.

Dr. Georgiy Bobashev is an RTI Fellow of a business development team at the Centre for Data Science and a visiting researcher of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) of the United States. He has done in-depth research on computer simulation, econometrics and other modelling methods. He teaches methods of simulation modelling about Social Sciences in multiple American and European universities. Dr. Bobashev has applied modelling to a variety of health- and policy-related areas.

Dr. Zhanli (Jerry) Sun is a senior researcher and coordinator of the China Research Group at Leibniz Institute of Agricultural Development in Transition Economies (IAMO), Germany. He received PhD in Geography from the Chinese Academy of sciences in 1999. He has co-developed two renowned cellular automata based land use simulation model, DUEM at the Eastern Michigan University and LEAM at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, USA. He employs wide range of tools and methods, such as agent based models, spatial econometrics, and Bayesian networks, in examining land system changes and land users’ decision making in China, Southeast Asia, Argentina, etc. He published over 50 academic publications (with 2100+ citations; h-index 17) in renowned journals including Nature, Global Environmental Change, Land Use Policy, Environmental Modelling & Software etc.

Dr. Hang Xiong is a professor in College of Economics and Management, Huazhong Agricultural University and the PI of "Agricultural System Modelling" Team in MARI. He has abundant experience of applying computer simulation and complex network analysis to agricultural economy, social interaction, international relations, ecological environment, policy analysis and so on. His doctoral dissertation has won the Outstanding Thesis Award of European Social Simulation Association.

Teaching Assistants

Liu Yang, PhD candidate in the University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, visiting PhD at the Centre for Transport Studies in Imperial College London.

Personal home page:

Jiacheng Pan, Master’s student of College of Economics and Management, Huazhong Agricultural University

Registration and Consultation

For those who are interested, please enter our website or scan the QR code below for registration before 31th, May 2019.

Certificate of completion

A paper certificate or a digital certificate based on block chain technology will be provided to the participants who have completed their studies.


Name: Libo Song (027-87282679)

Lin Ling (027-87282011)


Office Address:

Macro Agriculture Research Institute (MARI),

College of Economics and Management, Huazhong Agricultural University

No.1 Shizishan Street, Hongshan District, Wuhan 430070, China

About Huazhong Agricultural University

Located in Wuhan, the biggest city and transportation hub of Central China, Huazhong Agricultural University (HZAU) is a national key university of “Project 211” directly under the Ministry of Education. With a history tracing back to Hubei Farming School founded in 1898 by Zhang Zhidong, governor of Hubei and Hunan province, HZAU enjoys a history of 120 years. Covering an area of 495 hectares, the campus contains well-spaced teaching blocks and lab buildings and is surrounded on three sides by clear lakes and backed by green hills, making it an ideal place for teaching and research. Through the discussion of experts, study of the university and then the approval of the Ministry of Education, Biology, Horticulture and Crop Science, Animal Husbandry, Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural Economics Management are selected as the first-class disciplines at HZAU.

About MARI

Macro Agriculture Research Institute (MARI) is a joint research centre established by HZAU and International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI, Washington, DC, USA). MARI addresses the challenges of increasing interconnectedness and complexity of agricultural systems, which act as natural, social and economic environments for providing food and other products to sustain life. It aims to understand the interactions among the components of agricultural systems and provide knowledge for decision- making in order to make interconnected agricultural systems more sustainable and resilient. MARI’s academic staff consists of members from the College of Economics and Management, the College of Plant Science and Technology, the College of Resources and Environment and the College of Informatics of HZAU and various divisions of IFPRI. Website:

About Imperial College London

Located in the heart of London, Imperial is a multidisciplinary space for education, research, translation and commercialisation, harnessing science and innovation to tackle global challenges. Imperial College London is a world top ten university with an international reputation for excellence in teaching and research. Consistently rated amongst the world's best universities, Imperial is committed to developing the next generation of researchers, scientists and academics through collaboration across disciplines.

The Urban Systems Lab of Imperial College London simulates the urban system and studies the sustainable development of cities through computer simulation models. It promotes the popularization of methodological research and methods used in social science by computer simulation.