The Center for Modeling Social Systems (CMSS) works with subject matter experts and policy professionals to co-create conceptual and computational models for analyzing and predicting societal change. We use many computational methods, but our most common approach is multi-agent artificial intelligence modeling, which involves the construction of “artificial societies” composed of psychologically realistic agents in sociologically realistic networks who interact with one another and their simulated environment.
CMSS researchers have been part of several consortia developing models on a wide variety of topics including immigrant integration, intergroup conflict, secularization, populism, prosociality, and emotional contagion during the COVID-19 crisis. The validation of these models typically requires massive quantitative data sets, but can also be informed by empirical findings from qualitative methods such as interviews or ethnography. Because our goal is to impact public policy discussions about contemporary societal challenges, our projects often aim to produce easy to use online platforms on which stakeholders can perform experiments within the artificial societies we construct.