American Mathematical Society, Mathematics Research Communities

3 573Program ID: MRC-AGENTBASED [#573]
Program Title: Agent-based Modeling in Biological and Social Systems June 17-23, 2018
Program Location: Rhode Island, United States [map]
Application Deadline: 2018/02/15* finished (2017/07/07, finished 2018/07/30, listed until 2018/10/31)
Program Description:    

*** this program has been closed, and no new applications will be accepted. ***

About the Mathematics Research Communities:

Mathematics Research Communities (MRC), a program of the American Mathematical Society (AMS), nurtures early-career mathematicians--those who are close to finishing their doctorates or have recently finished--and provides them with opportunities to build social and collaborative networks through which they can inspire and sustain each other in their work.

The structured program is designed to engage and guide all participants as they start their careers. For each topic, the program includes a one-week summer conference, a Special Session at the next Joint Mathematics Meetings, and a longitudinal study of early career mathematicians.

The summer conferences of the MRC are held at the Whispering Pines Conference Center in West Greenwich, Rhode Island, where participants can enjoy the natural beauty and a collegial atmosphere. Those accepted into this program will receive support (full room and board at Whispering Pines Conference Center and airfare or partial airfare) for the summer conference, and will be partially supported for their participation in the Joint Mathematics Meetings which follow in January 2019.

ELIGIBILITY: Individuals within one to two years prior to the receipt of their PhDs, or up to five years after receipt of their PhDs, are welcome to apply.  Most of those supported by NSF funds to participate in the MRC program will be US-based, that is, employed by or a full-time student at a US institution at the time of the MRC summer conference. However, the terms of the grant allow for a limited number of individuals who are not US-based. A few international participants may be accepted. Women and underrepresented minorities are especially encouraged to apply.  All participants are expected to be active in the full MRC program.

For any program, fellowship, prize or award that has a maximum period of eligibility after receipt of the doctoral degree, the selection committee may use discretion in making exceptions to the limit on eligibility for candidates whose careers have been interrupted for reasons such as family or health. Therefore, an applicant who has had to slow down or temporarily stop his or her career for personal reasons may request to be considered for an extension in the amount of time after the PhD degree. Please send exception requests to

  • Completed on-line application form
  • One (1) reference letter submitted by a professor or supervisor who knows the applicant and can address how the applicant will benefit from, and contribute to, the MRC program.

Note that all applicants will be notified of their status by May 1, 2018.

Week 3: June 17 – 23, 2018-- Agent-based Modeling in Biological and Social Systems

Andrew Bernoff, Harvey Mudd College
Leah Edelstein-Keshet, University of British Columbia
Alan Lindsay, University of Notre Dame
Chad Topaz, Williams College
Alexandria Volkening, Mathematical Biosciences Institute at Ohio State
Lori Ziegelmeier, Macalester College

In the last decade, there has been a movement to describe biological and social systems via agent-based models which track individual agents (organisms, people, molecules) that interact with each other and their environment through a set of deterministic and probabilistic rules. Examples include animal swarming, traffic flow, urban crime hotspots, networks of neurons, foraging and hunting strategies, trends in social media, the antigen response in the immune system, and diffusive signaling in systems biology. While agent based models are much easier to prototype than continuum models, they offer a different set of challenges. First, the results tend to be much noisier so that identifying dynamical states entails data-analytical techniques. Second, realistic systems can often have 105 to 1010 agents or more, and many features of the system only emerge in the large population limit. This can make both simulation and subsequent data analysis challenging. Finally, these systems suffer from the curse of dimensionality familiar to mathematical biologists: the parameter spaces tend to be large and difficult to sample effectively.

The techniques that have allowed for recent progress in analyzing these models are drawn from a variety of disciplines. A goal of this workshop is to cross-train and foster the formation of collaborations between the participants so that they can formulate effective but tractable agent-based models, numerically simulate these systems efficiently (notably via parallel and cloud computing), characterize and classify the data produced by these simulations (leveraging modern ideas such as topological data analysis), and analytically describe the observed behaviors. Our hope is that this MRC will develop new connections in our community and provide our colleagues with a broad portfolio of tools to attack problems and a wider network of collaborators in this highly interdisciplinary area of research.

Application Materials Required:
Submit the following item online at this website to complete your application:
And anything else requested in the program description.

Further Info:
800-321-4267 x 4113
Electronic submission of reference letters is requested.
If this is not possible, contact

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