The Dynamics Lab aims to support core and innovative research as well as excellent training in the fields of social simulation, including agent based modelling, social network analysis, group social processes, including group decision making and the computational social sciences. The Dynamics Lab is interdisciplinary and assists collaboration between researchers who are interested in the analysis of dynamic and complex behaviour in social networks and group processes.
Dynamic Social Network Analysis is a rapidly expanding and innovative field of research. Social network analysis focuses on the relationships between actors and acknowledges that an individual actor's behaviour is influenced by those around it. Actors and their actions are viewed as interdependent rather than independent units. Actors in the social network can refer to individuals, companies, associations, interest groups, countries etc. Recent advances in this field allow us to generate computer-based models of the dynamic nature of these social interactions between the actors in the network.
The study of Group Processes, in particular Group Decision Making, focuses on how the dynamic social interaction and individual strategic behaviour within the group can shape the collective decision outcomes. A number of models of collective decision making, proposing alternative and/or combined strategies in the decision process are elaborated and tested in a range of empirical settings, including public and private arenas of group decision making. Group decision modelling is being successfully applied in the field of Decision Support Systems, with many empirical applications via academic research projects, as well as consultancy work.
Agent-Based Simulation is changing the face of interdisciplinary research and in the social sciences, is an emergent and very exciting field of study. This approach is inherently dynamic in its focus. It allows us to experiment and create new artificial societies, to explore how social norms evolve in these societies and how individuals and collectives form interdependencies over time. The Dynamics Lab comprises a research core of academic staff and post-graduate researchers at UCD. Through its involvement in various training activities, as well as hosting a public Roundtable series, it fosters interdisciplinary collaboration on a university-wide basis in the field of Computational Social Science.