Call for papers CAA2015 in Siena

October 17, 2014

caaThe call for papers for the 2015 edition of the Computer Applications and Quantitative Methods in Archaeology conference is now open. There are some great sessions and workshops planned, check out the program here.

I want to draw your attention to a number of sessions and workshops I’m involved in or that are of interest if you bothered reading this blog post until here :) I want to invite everyone to consider submitting a paper or attending these! Full abstracts below.

Session 5H: Geographical and temporal network science in archaeology

Session 5L: Modelling large-scale human dispersals: data, pattern and process

Workshop 5: Introduction to exploratory network analysis for archaeologists using Visone

Workshop 8: First steps in agent-based modelling with Netlogo

Roundtable 5: Simulating the Past: Complex Systems Simulation in Archaeology

ABSTRACTS

Session 5H: Geographical and temporal network science in archaeology

Formal network techniques are becoming an increasingly common addition to the archaeologist’s methodological toolbox. Archaeologists have adopted these techniques mainly from the fields of social network analysis, physics and mathematics, where they have been developed and applied for decades. However, network science techniques for the analysis or visualisation of geographical and long-term temporal phenomena have seen far less development than those for social and technological phenomena. Conversely, archaeology has a long tradition of studying long-term change of socio-cultural systems and spatial phenomena, a research focus and tradition that is a direct consequence of the nature of archaeological data and our ambition to use it as proxy evidence for past human behaviour. We believe this spatial and temporal research focus so common in archaeology could inspire the development of innovative spatial and temporal network science techniques.

This session welcomes archaeological applications of formal network science techniques. It particularly encourages elaboration on the geographical and temporal aspects of applications. What are the implications of working on large time-scales for the use of network science techniques and the interpretation of their outputs? How can the study of long-term change of social systems inspire the development of innovative network science techniques? What advantages do geographical network approaches offer over other spatial analysis techniques in archaeology? How can the long tradition of studying spatial phenomena in archaeology inspire the development of innovative network science techniques?

Session 5L: Modelling large-scale human dispersals: data, pattern and process

Archaeology has largely moved forward from the simplistic ‘dots-on-the-map’ and ‘arrows-on-the-map’ approaches when it comes to studying large-scale human movements. Current models regarding spatio-temporal distribution and migration of humans often highlight the complex nature of such phenomena and the limitations that any particular data type impose on the reconstruction, be it environmental (paleoclimate, paleotopography, paleofauna and -flora), archaeological (site distribution, patterns in material culture) and other types of data (genetics, isotopes etc). Similarly the, often very coarse, resolution of the data coupled with the difficulty of integrating different types of information within one framework make the task of researching large-scale human dispersal challenging. Nevertheless, a number of recent applications employing different computational techniques show that this can be achieved. From the data acquisition, cataloguing and storing, to spatial analysis and identifying patterns and distributions in the data to building abstract and semi-realistic simulations of the processes behind the dispersals, computational techniques can aid the process of investigating human movement on various scales and allow researchers to tackle the underlying complexity of the studied systems moving the debate beyond simple intuitive models.

This session aims to summarise the recent progress in the topic, discuss major challenges and provide a base for establishing further directions of research. We invite contributions from researchers studying human movements on the meso- and macro-scale and employing any of the wide variety of techniques and theoretical frameworks within the following three themes:

DATA: spatio-temporal data acquisition and integration (for example, data types, quantifying uncertainty and biases of the data, large-scale databases, cross-platform integration);

PATTERN: spatio-temporal analysis and modelling (statistical modelling, GIS, C14 among others);

PROCESS: modelling of processes and mechanisms underpinning dispersal through simulation (agent-based and equation-based modelling, cellular automata, system-dynamics modelling, (social) network theory) and other techniques.

Workshop 5: Introduction to exploratory network analysis for archaeologists using Visone

Network science techniques offer archaeologists the ability to manage, visualise, and analyse network data. Within different archaeological research contexts, network data can be used to represent hypothesised past social networks, geographically embedded networks like roads and rivers, the similarity of site assemblages, and much more.

A large number of software programs is available to work with network data. Visone is one of them and offers a number of advantages:
• Free to use for research purposes
• A user-friendly interactive graphical user interface
• Innovative network visualisations
• Exporting publication-quality raster and vector files
• The incorporation of statistical modelling techniques

This workshop introduces the basics of network data management, visualisation and analysis with Visone through practical examples using archaeological research questions and datasets. The workshop is aimed at archaeologists with no required previous experience with network science.

Participants should bring a laptop with Visone installed (download Visone: http://visone.info/ )

Maximum 20 participants.

Workshop 8: First steps in agent-based modelling with Netlogo

Following on the success of the simulation workshops at CAA2012 in Perth and CAA2013 in Paris, we would like to continue the beginner course in NetLogo – an open-source platform for building agent-based models. NetLogo’s user-friendly interface, simple coding language and a vast library of model examples makes it an ideal starting point for entry-level modellers, as well as a useful prototyping tool for more experienced programmers. The first part of the workshop will be devoted to demonstrating the basics of modelling with NetLogo through a set of worked examples. This should give each participant enough skills and confidence to tackle the second exercise: building an archaeologically-inspired simulation in a small group. Finally, the last two hours will consist of a ‘drop-in’ clinic for anyone who would like to discuss their ideas for a simulation, needs help developing a model, or would like direction to further resources for modellers.

No prior knowledge of coding is required but we will ask the participants to bring their own laptop and install NetLogo beforehand: https://ccl.northwestern.edu/netlogo/

Roundtable 5: Simulating the Past: Complex Systems Simulation in Archaeology

In the last few years approaches commonly classified as computational modelling (agent-based and equation-based modelling, and other types of simulation etc.) are becoming increasingly common and popular among the archaeological computing community. Almost all research activity could be termed ‘modelling’ in some sense, for example, in archaeology we create conceptual models (hypotheses, typologies), spatial models (GIS), virtual models (3D reconstructions) or statistical models to name but a few. Most of them, however, investigate either the elements of the system (individual pots, skeletons, buildings etc.) or the pattern produced by the system elements (cultural similarities, settlement distribution, urban development etc.) and only theorize about the possible processes that led from the aggregated actions of individual actors to population-level patterns. In contrast, simulation allows us to approach such processes in a formal way and tackle some of the past complexities. It helps us to create ‘virtual labs’ in which we can test and contrast different hypotheses, find irregularities in the data or identify new factors which we would not suspect of having a significant impact on the system. In short, complexity science techniques have great potential for diverse applications in archaeology and may become a driving force for formalisation of descriptive models for the whole discipline.

The aim of this roundtable is to discuss the potential and challenges of complex systems simulation, including but not restricted to:
the epistemology of computational modelling (what it can and cannot do);
data integration and its use for model validation;
system formalisation and the role of domain specialists;
replicability and reuse of code;
lessons learnt from other disciplines commonly using simulation (ecology, social science, economics etc.)
communication between modellers and the wider archaeological public;
further directions of research.

Finally, we would like to take this opportunity to propose the creation of a new Special Interest Group (SIG) under the auspices of CAA (named: ‘CAA Complex Systems Simulation SIG’), and to discuss a preliminary plan of the proposed activities of the SIG and an outline of how the SIG is to be organised.


HNR workshop Bochum

October 15, 2014

bochumLast month’s Historical Network Research conference in Ghent was awesome! Can’t get enough of that networky goodness? Then you might be interested in the next event in the HNR series: “Vom Schürfen und Knüpfen – Text Mining und Netzwerkanalyse für Historiker_innen”, 10-12 April 2015 in Bochum. More info below.

HNR Workshop 2015

Vom Schürfen und Knüpfen – Text Mining und Netzwerkanalyse für Historiker_innen 10.–12. April 2015
Als 9. Veranstaltung in der Reihe „Historische Netzwerkforschung“ findet im April 2015 ein Workshop zu semantisch-sozialen Netzwerken an der Ruhr-Universität Bochum statt. Die Workshop-Reihe bietet historisch orientierten Forscher_innen aller Fachbereich erste Einblicke in die Methodik und eine Plattform zum Austausch über die neuesten Techniken der Netzwerkanalyse. Unter dieser Zielsetzung wird sich der Bochumer Workshop mit der Methode des Text Mining beschäftigen, die eine zunehmende Automatisierung der Erstellung von Netzwerken aus historischem Material ermöglicht. Darüber hinaus spielt die Frage nach den Dimensionen von Texten, die durch diese Methoden repräsentiert werden können, eine Rolle. Hierbei bieten semantisch-soziale Netzwerke die Möglichkeit, sich zum einen mit Begriffszusammenhängen und Konzeptualisierungen, zum anderen mit Beziehungen zwischen Entitäten auseinanderzusetzen.

Der Workshop soll auch Teilnehmer_innen ohne Vorkenntnisse zeigen, wie Relationen von Worten und/oder Entitäten aus einem Text mithilfe von computergestützten Verfahren erzeugt und graphisch abgebildet werden können, ohne dass sie zunächst manuell (beispielsweise in einer Tabelle) erfasst werden müssen.

Am Freitagvormittag besteht die Möglichkeit, vor der offiziellen Eröffnung des Workshops, an einer Einführung in die Programmiersprachen Python und/oder R teilzunehmen. Während des Workshops gibt es eine mehrstündige Session zum Visualisierungsprogramm Gephi.

Darüber hinaus sollen die Teilnehmer_innen erste Einblicke in die folgenden Bereiche bekommen:

Eigenschaften, die ein Text besitzen sollte, um ein Netzwerk erstellen zu können
Möglichkeiten, die es zur Verbesserung der Qualität von Netzwerken gibt
Tools und Computerprogramme, die bei der Erstellung von Netzwerken helfen können
Fragestellungen, die durch die semantisch-soziale Netzwerkanalyse beantwortet werden können
Auf diese Weise soll gezeigt werden, wie man einen Text zunächst „schürft“, um schließlich ein Netzwerk zu „knüpfen“.

Zum Call for Presentations/Participation


Slides Connected Past London available

September 23, 2014

TCP (2013_05_12 19_17_14 UTC)The Connected Past conference in London this month was awesome! How awesome? Well you can judge that for yourself. We have made slides of most presentations available for download on Figshare. We will also make videos of most talks available online soon, so stay tuned for more!


It’s that conference season again!

September 17, 2014

This month is just raining interesting conferences again! If you’re into the kind of research I like that is: social simulation, The Connected Past, and Historical Networks Research … Ooooooh Yeeeeaaah! :)

Two weeks ago I was in Barcelona for the Social Simulation Conference and the Simulating the Past satellite conference. Reports of this event on my blog did not get beyond part 1. That’s just because Barcelona is so much fun and it would be a shame to sit in a hotel room writing blog posts any longer than I already did. The conference was great overall. There was a surprising number of talks presenting a project outline rather than results. Although conferences are good places to recruit people on such projects, these talks are not always as engaging as others.

Ulrik Brandes giving a keynote presentation at TCP London

Ulrik Brandes giving a keynote presentation at TCP London

Last week I co-organised The Connected Past with Tim Evans and Ray Rivers at Imperial College London, and the rest of the Connected Past team. It strikes me as a wonderful thing how every time we organise an event we attract a truly multi-disciplinary, young, and curious audience. Interestingly there is also always a slight majority of female scholars at The Connected Past events, which is very welcome given that in academia often the opposite is true. Our audience is always a particularly studious bunch. Humanities scholars looking to learn more about what that network thing is all about, and scholars from the hard sciences who want to know if they can jump on a research topic/problem/dataset that is slightly more sexy than gravity. The keynote talks by Alan Wilson, Ulrik Brandes and Joaquim Fort were brilliant! Each drew from their personal experiences of applying a different computation modelling approach to archaeological research: agent-based modelling, network modelling, and statistical modelling. In particular, I can recommend Brandes’co-authored paper entitled ‘what is network science?’, which is definitely required reading for anyone following this blog. I am sure this is not gonna be the last Connected Past event. In fact, I’ll be able to announce some cool TCP news very soon I hope.

This week it’s time for Historical Networks Research, an initiative that already received loads of blogspace here. No need to break the trend: expect reports from the keynotes and talks as the conference progresses over the coming days. I am particularly looking forward to the keynote by Claire Lemercier, who organised a fantastic TCP in Paris in April. Claire is a real pioneer in applying network science in history, and her review article on the subject is a must-read for any historians interested in networks. Stay tuned for more on Historical Networks Research soon!


Thoughts from Connected Pasts 2014 workshop and meeting

September 10, 2014

tombrughmans:

Ruth Fillery-Travis wrote a critical positive review of The Connected Past meeting we held Monday-Tuesday at Imperial College London. Although she argues the conference succeeded in fulfilling the promises it made in the advertisements (multi-disciplinary and awesome), Ruth raises an important issue with the use of network science techniques in archaeology. In particular, with how we use network data as a representation of the past phenomena we are interested in understanding. This is a key issue and one that archaeological network analysts commonly struggle with. But I want to emphasise such decisions are motivated by archaeological data critique and theories, they are not inherent in any way to network data as a way of representation or to network analysis techniques. It’s still early days for archaeological network science, we need more creative and experimental archaeological examples, we need more discussion such as that sparked by Ruth’s review…. But it’s gonna be worth it! :)
Thanks Ruth for actively participating at the meeting and after, stay in touch with the community!!!!

Originally posted on Ruth Fillery-Travis:

This week I spent Monday and Tuesday at the Connected Pasts workshop and meeting in London, learning about network and complexity science and its application to archaeology and the past. The two days consisted of a three hour workshop introducing and exploring one of a number software packages which can be used to analyse networks on Monday morning, followed by talks and key note speeches on Monday afternoon and through Tuesday (full program and abstracts here). The conference was held at Imperial College London, and organised locally by Tim Evans of Imperial, with Tom Brughmans of Konstanz from the wider advisory committee.

The conference was billed as multidisciplinary (within the scope of the past), and largely lived up to that; I chatted to computer scientists, geographers, statisticians, classicists and lots of physicists and archaeologists. It also attracted an international group of speakers and attendees, largely from Central…

View original 820 more words


Geeky fun in Barcelona, part 1 #ssc14

September 4, 2014

This week I am in beautiful Barcelona for the Social Simulation conference. Not that I can really attest to this city’s beauty – I have never been here before and spent the first two days here almost exclusively in my hotel on campus preparing my paper. This will be a very recognisable experience for frequent conference goers. So Barcelona tourist tips will have to wait until blog posts at the end of the week.

I left my hotel room for two conference events only until now (Wednesday morning): the wine reception and the first keynote. The reception was actually a proper wine tasting, including long speeches about whatever happens in your nose as you taste each wine. It was of course not very surprising that the speaker struggled to keep the attention of the people he just served his produce to, who were struggling not to drown the drink straight away. But it was worth it, the wine was amazing. We were given four wines from a local wine producer, I can definitely recommend having a look at their products. The wine farmer is also experimenting with an archaeologically inspired wine, called Amphora. The clays on his land were used to create large ceramic containers (amphorae) which replace the oak barrels in which the wine matures. Apparently, the result is that the oak barrel taste which sometimes masks fruity and terroir flavours is reduced, and makes place for the amphora flavour (although he struggled to describe what an amphora tastes like since it’s a recent experiment and admittedly I asked a weird question). 

Today I attended the second keynote of the conference, Cesareo Hernandez talking about artificial economics. He argues ABM methods are necessary in economics, largely because his definition of economics demands it. Economics is a social science, according to Hernadez economics inherits complexity from the social part and it demands experimentation because it is a science. This is now generally accepted and experimental economics is part of mainstream economics, although this did not happen without a fight. Economic models now need to incorporate instability, change, and heterogeneous agents. Artificial economics tries to do just that, through computational modelling. These models should also not be created merely for their mathematical beauty but need to be socially relevant. This is something I very much agree with, if only because I understand social relevance far better than maths :) Hernandez argues three key elements should be included in all models: Agents, environments, and institutions. By varying the implementation of these elements, different artificial economies emerge.

Stay tuned for more!

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Bursaries available The Connected Past London

August 26, 2014

TCP (2013_05_12 19_17_14 UTC)Just a few more weeks until the next Connected Past conference! The programme is finished and again covers a good range of topics presented by scholars from different disciplines, all discussing the overlap between archaeological challenges and complexity and network science. Registration is still open so don’t hesitate to register soon. We also encourage UK-based researchers to apply for our bursaries to attend The Connected Past.

What? The Connected Past: archaeological challenges and complexity

When? 8-9 September 2014

Where? Imperial College London

Registration? https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-connected-past-london-2014-tickets-12300893303

More info? http://connectedpast.soton.ac.uk/london-2014/


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