Since the 1990s, social simulation has become a well recognised trans-disciplinary field of research. A comprehensive body of examples and applications of social simulations to relevant social phenomena, like cooperation, the emergence of social institutions, the diffusion of norms, innovation, social moods, and collective behaviour, to name just a few, has been suggested in the last years, contributing to the increase in the scientific knowledge available.

Social simulation researchers aim at exploring and understanding social phenomena by means of computer simulation, especially by using agent-based models, with the purpose of identifying those social mechanisms, patterns and rules that are responsible of the complexity of the social reality. Some researchers involved in this field are especially interested in advancing the theoretical frontier of their reference discipline, such as in the case of sociologists, economists, psychologists, and cognitive scientists, often through abstract and general models. Researchers with a background in physics are interested in applying complexity theories and tools, as well as a reductionist approach to social science models, under the purpose of exploring and discovering the general rules and patterns of complexity. Other researchers are more interested in using computer simulation to support planning, management and decision making processes, such as in the case of political scientists, scholars in management and organization studies, through rich and detailed models and case-based applications. Others again are working in particular on the engineering of tools, instruments and simulation platforms explicitly devoted to social simulation.


The aim of the Vth ESSA Conference is to bring together researchers who are interested in advancing the frontier of social simulation in a trans-disciplinary meeting, both by exploring innovative fields, issues and themes and by consolidating and strengthening existing ones.

Addressed topics range from theoretical and empirical applications to methodological analyses, since to technical and educational issues. Contributions from researchers who can look at social simulation from a outside-in perspective are particularly welcomed.





Fifth European Social Simulation Association Conference, University of Brescia, 1-5 September 2008