Extra materials

A course like this can never cover everything (indeed, it already crams in too much!). However, for scientific coders, there's a lot that might be useful, even at an introductory level like this.

Given this, on this page we pull together a list of additional materials we've drawn together over the years. Most of it is relatively introductory, but enough to get you started.

Note that because these are part of other courses, "continue" links, and directory structures etc. may link to other courses. Adapt as needed. Anything of use in other courses is listed below, so we'd recommend coming back here to explore those.

Agent-Based Modelling

Rather than introducing modelling frameworks in the practicals, we've gone for the approach of getting you to build something from the ground up. In the main this is because Frameworks, though ok in terms of introductory materials, get quite frustrating once you go beyond these. They're useful, but you spend quite a lot of time getting them to do what you think they should do. This wouldn't be time especially well spent given the limited time we have. However, it is useful to have a go at using them, and see if they are something that would be useful for you.

With this in mind, here's some introductory tutorials:



Other useful modelling techniques

Although we've been concentrating on Agent-Based Modelling in this course, there are lots of other modelling techniques that are of use, not least in combination with ABM. Here's some practicals for a few that might be of use:

Spatial Interaction Models

These a 'gravity' models that calculate flows between regions based on a supply and attractiveness. They're used for lots of things, from estimating road follows to positioning hospitals. The practicals were actually the practicals for the 2013 summer school, so they cover some similar territory, but with SIM rather than ABM. They use the Netbeans IDE. They were written by Kirk Harland, who has spent a good deal of time as a professional coder, so they are full of useful advice.


Spatial Microsimulation

This is a technique for generating a population of individuals from statistical datasets and a sample of individuals. It essentially uses the sample of individuals to build up a population that matches a set of statistics. It can, at the same time, attach variables that aren't in your statistics for an area. For example, if you had census data, you could build a population that match that, but which also had income and newspaper readership levels as well. As such, they make a great starting point for traditional statistical analyses, but also for the base population of an ABM.

The following pdf tutorial walks you through running a Spatial Microsimulation using some software written, again, by Kirk Harland:



Network programming

We often teach this as core Java material, but there's not room in this course. Nevertheless, if you want an overview of how networks work, and how to program with them, along with info on writing HTML etc., the following resources will get you started:



Scientific programming

There are a bunch of general coding areas applicable to most scientific coding: data processing, visualisation, statistics, etc. While it would be impossible to cover all the available areas or libraries available, these materials give you some basic starting points to quickly get up and running.



Computational Intelligence / Complexity /Networks

We thought some more general computational / Artificial Intelligence stuff might be of interest. The powerpoint materials below introduce some key themes. They don't go into huge detail, but they're enough to give a flavour, and there's references in the notes.

Small lectures

Longer lectures



GIS programming

Most of the time you can get away with simple scripting in GIS like ArcGIS and QGIS using Python. If you've learnt Java, Python will be relative simple for you to pick up. Even simpler is ArcGIS's excellent 4th Generation drag-and-drop coding environment "ModelBuilder" (practical). However, if you want to do anything more complex with a GIS, you'll probably need a language like Java or C++. The following materials introduce programming with Java in ArcGIS. It's not for the fainthearted, it has to be said!

In addition, when dealing with ArcGIS you occasionally come across legacy (~out of date) code hanging round that is based on the Arc Macro Language (AML). These Powerpoint/Word materials cover programming in that: