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Center for Advanced Modeling

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University-Wide Modeling Track

In addition to its basic and applied research, CAM is developing a course sequence, based on the Homewood Campus, open to all students, but focused on undergraduates.  It will introduce students to models and to the process of modeling—particularly interdisciplinary modeling—and the habits of mind essential to it. We believe that a liberal arts education should include exposure to models, and for many years, Epstein taught courses of this nature at Princeton. He also designed a course on “Participatory Modeling” at the University of Pittsburgh, specifically to empower non-modelers to collaborate with modelers, on subjects ranging from epidemics, to ecosystem dynamics, to the origins of conflict, to the computational reconstruction of great characters in literature.  The Hopkins course will continue this tradition, and will benefit modelers and non-modeler alike, bridging the gap between C.P. Snow’s “Two Cultures,” to the benefit of both.

Models, Marvel, and the Liberal Arts Education

Beyond their myriad applications, models—even simple models—can also produce counterintuitive results, and engender marvel. Marvel produces humility, which is essential for meaningful dialogue, which in turn is central to humane civilization itself. Marvel is, in fact, the aim of the 2014 CAM Prize competition. ‘To produce the simplest possible agent-based model that does unexpected and interesting things.’ The great universities are stewards of marvel, and agent-based modeling—which uses simple rules rather than forbidding equations--is a particularly marvelous way to produce it.

Focused modeling Project Courses will also be offered by CAM Faculty. This modeling track will also involve faculty and relevant Institutes from across all Schools of the University and is envisioned as a signature offering of The Johns Hopkins University.