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Institute of Advanced Study

Past Events

Tipping Points in Modelling Seminar - How do people make choices? Tipping points in human behaviour

13th November 2014, 13:00, Seminar Room, Institute of Advanced Study, Palace Green, Paul Ormerod (Volterra Consulting)

Abstract to be confirmed.

Bio: Paul is a well-known British economist and a partner of Volterra economic consultancy. He has many years of experience in working with companies to develop models to enhance their decision making, and is an expert on advanced modelling techniques, working across a range of disciplines in the social and physical sciences. Paul is author of a range of best-selling books including The Death of Economics, Butterfly Economics and Why Most Things Fail. His latest book, Positive Linking: How Networks and Incentives Can Revolutionise the World, explores the limits of conventional economics and why it needs to embrace the power of networks through ‘positive linking’. Further info

Mathematical and computational models are widely used by physical and social scientists. These models are normally used to investigate the dynamics of a complex system like climate, financial markets, energy systems or societal behaviour. Due to the complexity of the systems being analysed, it is often necessary to investigate the fragility of such models and explore its capability to adapt to tipping points such as drastic climate change, financial crisis, blackouts or social epidemics.

Through a series of interdisciplinary seminar lunches, the following issues will be discussed: 

  • How stable and close to reality are model outputs when near a tipping point?
  • How does the level of complexity of a model affect the predictability of important events?
  • How can we differentiate a tipping point induced by the modelling process and a real tipping point?
  • How do we assess the fragility of a model?
  • How do mathematical, statistical and agent-based models differ when capturing the dynamics of tipping points in a complex system?

This series will maintain continuity and expansion of the interest group which has built up through previous IAS modelling seminar series and addresses new questions raised by researchers in previous sessions. The seminars are open to all researchers at Durham, and collaborators. 

Lunch will be provided but spaces are limited, please sign-up to any of the events listed by contacting Camila Caiado ( .