Online course Agent-based modelling for archaeologists

Want to learn agent-based modelling in depth, in a way that is tailored for archaeologists, but don’t have much time to live and study abroad? Then I can very much recommend this short course at the University of Leiden. It is a paid module but you do get actual credits at the end of it and great private supervision throughout by world-leading experts.

Starting September 2019, the Archaeology Faculty at the University of Leiden, the Netherlands will be offering an online course in Agent-based Modelling for Archaeologists. The course is open to Leiden students and for external participants and will be held entirely online.

The course format follows the SPOC (Small Private Online Course) principles. That is, while fully online the number of participants is limited to 30 and each of them gets personalised attention from the course instructors. The course consists of:

  • short prerecorded video lectures,
  • reading assignments coupled with short quizzes,
  • practical tutorials in programming and model development,
  • online collaborative tasks,
  • other activities, and
  • regular assignments and a large final assignment, which are graded by the instructors.

You can read more about the SPOC format and the previous edition of the course in this paper:

The objective of the course is to provide students with a deep understanding of the possibilities and limitations of modelling and simulation as a tool in archaeology and to teach them the basics of computer programming, enabling them to create new models and simulations for research purposes. At the end of the course, students will be able to:

  • identify and translate implicit, conceptual models (scientific hypotheses formulated in natural language) into formal explicit models in a wide range of social and environmental research contexts;
  • build simulation systems to run, test and expand such models following best scientific practice;
  • develop intermediate programming skills with the ability to independently develop and test computer code;
  • interpret simulation results and assess their validity in archaeological and implementation terms;
  • understand the role of simulation techniques in modern scientific practice and appreciate both the potential and the challenges of the method

The course is targeted at archaeologists, historians, social scientists or similar disciplines at all levels, from graduate students, PhDs and postdocs to professional researchers, and from academic, public and commercial backgrounds. Participants who successfully complete the course and the final assignment will receive a certificate, a grade and credits (5 EC).

For more information and the registration procedure please see:

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