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Simulation based Science @ UvA

To deepen our understanding of the complex systems that we study, we need to formulate quantitative and qualitative models and explore those models via computer simulation. At the IAS, we bring together researchers who work on such simulation based approaches.

Historically, simulation based science started at the end of the second world war in the physical, chemical, and engineering sciences. Pushed forward by powerful numerical algorithms and ever increasing computational speed, it slowly penetrated other scientific domains, e.g. climate modelling, weather prediction, and the life sciences. In the last two decades, driven forward by the abundance of available data, simulation based science has found its place in literally all realms of science, including medicine, social sciences and the humanities.

Simulation based science is all about formulating computational models of phenomena that we observe and performing computer simulations in order to deepen our understanding of the systems that underpin these phenomena. The aim is to predict their future behaviour or to find adaptations that would change their behaviour in some desired way. Simulation based science is sometimes called “the third pillar of science” and complements theory and experiments. Together they underpin the scientific method and strongly interact. Theory provides the necessary framework for computational models, experiments provide the data against which the computational models need to be validated, and numerical simulations may lead to new insights and theory or new hypotheses that are tested experimentally.

Simulation based Science community @UvA

We have identified a substantial number of researchers that use various computational modelling and simulation methods, spread across all UvA faculties. At the IAS, we bring them together to exchange knowledge and develop new skills and methods. Our aim is to form an active community of Simulation based Scientists, and host weekly activities at the institute (e.g. lectures on methods and application areas, working groups on specific challenges etc).

Monthly thematic meetings

This year we will organise 5 thematic meetings at the IAS (14:00-18:00). The programme of each meeting consists of several plenary talks and much time for networking and interaction.   

Topics 2018-2019: Agent-based Modelling II; Particle-based Modelling; Stochastic Modelling; Emergence-Resilience & Tipping Points; High Performance Computing.

09 Nov 2018 Agent-based Modelling - Part II
07 Dec 2018 Emergence, Resilience and Tipping Points
01 Mar 2019 Stochastic Modelling
05 Apr 2019 Particle-based Modelling
10 May 2019 High Performance Computing


Weekly SbS@UvA Club (1 Feb 2019 - 31 May 2019)

Members of the community meet weekly on Friday afternoon (13:00-18:00) in the SbS@UvA club at the IAS; an informal gathering with no agenda other than a one-hour joint lunch session, organised by junior scientists (e.g. lectures, discussions, a journal club). You can bring your issues/projects to discuss, help others to find solutions for their projects, exchange ideas and meet new people.

Agenda for the plenary sessions the coming weeks:

1 Feb 2019 Laurens Bogaardt: Review of surrogate
modelling, with an emphasis on Kriging
8 Feb 2019 Vishnu Sivadasan: Macroscopic Friction
Coefficients of Shear Thickening Suspensions
15 Feb 2019 Lucas Hoogduin: Accounting and Auditing
– a skill or a science?
22 Feb 2019 No SbS@UvA club (holiday break)
1 March 2019 No SbS@UvA club (theme meeting)
8 March 2019 TBD
15 March 2019 Loes Crielaard: Systems thinking and body
weight perception: Modelling interactions
between individual-level variables and
collective socio-cultural environment processes
22 March 2019 Javier Garcia-Bernardo
29 March 2019 TBD


Scientific Leads

Prof. Alfons Hoekstra - Faculty of Science (Coordinator | SbS@UvA )
Prof. Cees Diks  - Faculty of Economics and Business
Prof. Antoine van Kampen - Academic Medical Centre
Prof. Han van der Maas - Faculty of  Social and Behavioural Sciences

Join SbS@UvA

If you want to join the Simulation-based Science community @UvA, contact us!

More information

To find out more about simulation-based science, or if you want to propose a topic for the community, contact Alfons Hoekstra.

prof. dr. ir. A.G. (Alfons) Hoekstra

Coordinator SbS@UvA