From: Paul.Boca on
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BCS-FACS Evening Seminar Series

Formal methods, supercomputers and simulation -
understanding complex biological, economic and social systems

Professor Mike Holcombe (Sheffield University)

10 March 2010


BCS London Offices
First Floor,
The Davidson Building
5 Southampton Street
London WC2E 7HA

A fundamental challenge for science is to understand better the
complex world we inhabit.This world comprises many complex
systems many of which adapt to changing circumstances. One
increasingly successful approach to modelling these systems
is by using a multi-agent approach where large numbers of
individual components interact, communicate and develop
within a dynamic environment to produce emergent structures
and behaviour. We use a simple and effective formal model to
represent these agents – X-agents are adaptations of a generalised
state machine and are the basis for the modelling environment
FLAME (Flexible Large-scale Agent-based Modelling Environment).
FLAME is a simulation program generator that can be used with
any type of computer, including high performance supercomputers.
The verification, validation and analysis of the models and the
simulations they produce is an interesting challenge.

We will look at a number of applications of this technology where
new discoveries have been made in biology. In molecular biology
the role of actin in the sequestration of a key molecule in the innate
immune system has been uncovered; in cellular biology we have
demonstrated the impact of stem cells and a key regulatory growth
factor on the ability of tissue to repair wounds; in microbiology
estimates of key kinetic parameters in the transformation between
aerobic and anaerobic respiration in the bacterium E. coli have been
obtained; in social insect ecology the foraging mechanisms of
species of ants have been uncovered.

Finally we shall look at the EURACE model, the largest detailed model
of the European economy yet produced and investigate a number of
important policy questions: the benefits of quantitative easing as
opposed to fiscal tightening on credit availability; the impact of
different labour migration rules on regional economic activity and
the role of subsidies in the management of the impacts of energy
price shocks.

Refreshments will be served from 5.15pm.

The seminar is free of charge and open to everyone. If you would like
to attend, please email Paul Boca [Paul.Boca(a)] by
>>>9 March<< . Pre-registration is required.

BCS-FACS Website:

Location of venue: