SIMSOC: Recommendations for ABM videos

I asked participants of the SIMSOC email list for recommendations of videos to show in agent-based modelling and complexity lectures. Thank you to everyone who replied. Here is a list of some useful resources:

John Bragin (UCLA) also kindly provided links to a number of videos, all of which he feels are valid scientifically and good audio-visual presentations. I have included the list here verbatim, including John’s notes (my own observations are in italics):

  • Nanioushka (2007): Tom Lehrer’s “Lobachevsky”. 3:10mins. Or how to do “research”. The perfect ice-breaker. There are many visualizations of his song, but I find this the most imaginative.
  • Campbell(2008): “How the universe appeared from nothing”, 3mins. Made for NEW SCIENTIST Magazine. I include this, because it is intriguing and tickles my fancy. It goes by a little too fast for those without prior knowledge of some of the more recondite physics, however.
  • Nova Science Now: “Emergence”. About 12mins. [Sadly doesn't seem to be available in UK, but it is on YouTube here: Nick] Really top-notch. I use this in the first lecture for my intro courses to warm up the students for the course and then again in segments for close study when I cover individual complexity topics. I find both the science and the presentation excellent.
  • Maynard,etal(2013) “Naked Truth about (scientific) models”. From within a series on risk (dose-response modeling). Totaling about 7 minutes.
  • Rahman (2012): “Lies, Damned Lies and Big Data (Doodle Talk, Episode 2)”. 6mins. A corrective to the current obsession with BIG DATA. 6 mins. An animated video using one of the on-line do-it-yourself animation systems.
  • Bruce Edmonds (2011): “Agent-Based Modeling”. 4:30mins. Also Agent-Based Social Simulation. 15mins (the first part of a 45min lecture) Edmonds is key figure in complex systems science. He is Director of the Centre for Policy Modelling – Manchester Metropolitan University Business School. He has written and lectured extensively on the conceptual and methodological foundations of complex systems science in general and agent-based simulation modeling in particular.
  • BBC: “Starlings flock over Rome”. Use before a unit on flocking/swarming ABMs. Can be looped and used with music and no narration, as there is no particular scientific content.
  • Mandelbrot (2010): “Fractals & Roughness”. 17m10s. A TED TALK in which Benoit Mandelbrot summarizes his work and concepts.
  • Berlow(2010) “Simplifying Complexity”. 3:30mins. A whirlwind TED talk. Eric Berlow is an ecologist and network scientist who specializes in not specializing. A TED Senior Fellow, Berlow is recognized for his research on food webs and ecological networks and for creative approaches to complex problems. He was the founding director of the University of California’s first environmental science center inside Yosemite National Park, where he continues to develop data-driven approaches to managing natural ecosystems.
  • “Lansing on the Bali Water Temple System”. 2013. 15:30mins. Of course there are a number of ABMs of this, including at least one Netlogo version by Marco Janssen (available at OpenABM: Along a typical river in Bali, small groups of farmers meet regularly in water temples to manage their irrigation systems. They have done so for a thousand years. Over the centuries, water temple networks have expanded to manage the ecology of rice terraces at the scale of whole watersheds. Although each group focuses on its own problems, a global solution nonetheless emerges that optimizes irrigation flows for everyone. Did someone have to design Bali’s water temple networks, or could they have emerged from a self-organizing process? J. Stephen Lansing is a professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona, with a joint appointment in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, a visiting professor in the complexity program at Nanyang Technological University.
  • Feynman (1964) on “INTERCONNECTING HIERARCHIES”. 5m32s Last part of “The Distinction of Past and Future”, Lecture #6 from series CHARACTER OF PHYSICAL LAW. A very prescient, insightful talk segment. Feyman is one of my scientific heros. The relevant part begins after his comments on the carbon atom. Given in 1964 as part of a series of public lectures at Cornell U. Feynman, of course, wasn’t a complex systems scientist, but as the talk progresses he sounds at least like a proto-complexity advocate, imho.
  • IBM (2013): “System of Systems”. 4mins.
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  1. […] I asked participants of the SIMSOC email list for recommendations of videos to show in agent-based modelling and complexity lectures. Thank you to everyone who replied. Here is a list of some useful resources:  […]