Agent-Based Models (ABMS) are artificial societies of individual software people whose interactions generate large-scale social patterns—of violence, of inequality, and of disease.

Epstein is a recognised pioneer in this method. In the sphere of Public Health, he has used ABMs to model pandemics from the 1918 Spanish Flu, to Bioterror Smallpox, to Ebola, to COVID-19. With stunning animations, he will demonstrate his modelling on scales ranging from a children’s school playground to the 6.5 billon agent planetary-scale model funded by the US National Institutes of Health. Throughout, he will emphasize the role of human behaviour in shaping epidemic dynamics, including the problematic multiple waves observed in historical pandemics and most recently, in COVID-19.

About the speaker

Joshua M. Epstein is an Oxford Martin Visiting Fellow at INET Oxford, Professor of Epidemiology and Affiliated Faculty at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences and the Department of Politics. He is founding Director of the NYU Agent-Based Modeling Laboratory and External Faculty Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute.

He was Professor and founding Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Advanced Modeling in the Social and Behavioral Sciences, with Joint appointments in Economics and Applied Mathematics. Earlier, he was Senior Fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution.

He models complex social dynamics using mathematical and computational methods, notably the method of Agent-Based Modeling in which he is a recognised pioneer. For this innovation, he was awarded the NIH Director’s Pioneer Award, an Honorary Doctorate of Science from Amherst College, and other distinctions. Epstein’s seven books include Nonlinear Dynamics, Mathematical Biology, and Social Science (Wiley); Generative Social Science (Princeton; Agent_Zero (Princeton), and with Robert Axtell, Growing Artificial Societies (MIT). Epstein holds a BA from Amherst College and a PhD from MIT.


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