iEMS 2016 Toulouse – modelling at its best

Pont StPierre seen on the final city tour.

Pont StPierre seen on our final city tour through Toulouse.

by Romina Martin

Between the European soccer final and the national day in France was the biannual Environmental Modeling & Software Conference in Toulouse. With about 8 parallel sessions over three days, it was hardly possible to visit many topics but I selected a few of particular interest for social-ecological systems modelers to present here.

Measured by its numbers of visitors and talk contributions, session D6 “The Importance of Human Decision Making in Agent-Based Models of Natural Resource Use” organized by Gunnar Dressler and Jule Schulze from Leipzig, was one of the most popular on the first day. Jule Schulze presented a quite far developed review on different decision making models used so far in land use simulations where the majority is still linked to underlying economic theories rather than potential alternatives from sociology or psychology. I also presented our model on lake restoration “LimnoSES” therein with a focus on the different decision levels in the agent-based part of the model influencing the restoration time after experiencing a regime shift. All contributions, papers and abstracts, from this session can be found in the draft proceedings, volume 4, online.

On the second day, we followed up on the human decisions track with a workshop organized by the same conveners. We discussed how to develop the integration of human decision making theories to formal models further. Opinions spread between working with generic frameworks to guide model development and analysis to platforms for exchanging pieces of model implementations for particular decision making theories.

Later on this day, I visited the session B3 “Methods for Visualization and Analysis of High-Dimensional Simulation Model Outputs” organized by Dawn Parker, Tatiana Filatova, Gary Polhill, and Ju-Sung Lee with a focus on social-ecological systems. Unfortunately only few contributions were presented here, one of them was my model analysis that I did together with Spencer A. Thomas who visited us early this year. You can find our paper contribution in the draft proceedings, volume 2, p. 154, “Analyzing regime shifts in agent-based models with equation-free analysis“.

The final day offered several interesting tracks, e.g. B4 “Environmental and Agricultural Modelling for Ecosystem Services” and D9 “Methods and Models to Assess Resiliency and Vulnerability in Environmental Systems”.

The major social event, the dinner on the final day, happened at the Airbus museum right beside an original Concorde airplane. For those of us being fascinated by engineers art and technological development, definitely a place recommended to visit in Toulouse.