Event | December 18, 2018

Rostock Retreat on Simulation

On July 1-3, 2019, the Rostock Retreat on Simulation will bring together population researchers and social scientists from many disciplines who use computer simulations to advance discovery and generate new insights. Scientists are welcome to apply. The deadline for applications is February 28, 2019.


The Rostock Retreat is designed to encourage communication and collaboration on speciļ¬c themes in a relaxed atmosphere. Following the success of previous retreats – Data Visualization (2017) and Causality (2018) – the third Rostock Retreat will focus on simulation and bring together theorists, methodologists, and applied researchers from across the social sciences and beyond.

The use of computer simulation to study social systems and human populations has a long track record, but gained particular traction in recent years. This is partly due to technical and statistical improvements, such as increased access to high-performance computing facilities and the integration of statistical methods that help to quantify uncertainty in large-scale simulations. Within this context, scholars are increasingly interested and involved in improving the theoretical and empirical foundation of simulation models to enhance their realism and accuracy in representing human behavior.

One of the goals of the event is to assess the current state of the art, to further advance the development of simulation methods, and to apply these methods in demography and population studies. “We encourage every researcher who uses simulation for her or his research, regardless of career stage or level of expertise, to apply,” says co-organizer Daniel Ciganda.

Beyond this, the event aims at providing a space for participants to interact, collaborate, and learn in order to inspire new ideas, hone skills, but also have fun. “It would be great if one outcome of the retreat is that scientists from different research fields find a connection that results in some joint research projects,” says André Grow, another member of the organization team.

The Retreat is organized by Daniel Ciganda, Research Scientist in the MPIDR Laboratory of Fertility and Well-Being; André Grow, Research Scientist in the MPIDR Laboratory of Digital and Computational Demography; Robert Stelter, Research Scientist in the MPIDR Laboratory of Fertility and Well-Being; Adelinde Uhrmacher, Professor at the University of Rostock; and Emilio Zagheni, Director of the MPIDR.

The organizing team has already set up a program consisting of a series of keynotes, lectures and hands-on sessions on different perspectives on simulation. Confirmed keynote speakers and distinguished lecturers, who are leading experts in their field, include: Joshua Epstein, New York University, College of Global Public Health; Andreas Flache, Department of Sociology, University of Groningen [link]; Alexia Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, Vienna Institute of Demography and Technical University of Vienna; Antonietta Mira, InterDisciplinary Institute of Data Science, Università della Svizzera italania; Adrian Raftery, Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, University of Washington; and Hana Sevcikova, Center for Statistics and the Social Sciences, University of Washington.

The Retreat will be held July 1-3, 2019, at the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) in Rostock, Germany. If you want to participate in the Retreat, please submit an application by February 28, 2019. For more information and application instructions, please visit http://www.rostock-retreat.org/.

Directly before the Retreat, the MPIDR will offer a five-day intensive course titled "Agent-Based Computational Modeling in Population Studies" from June 24 to 28, 2019 (for more details see https://tinyurl.com/abm2019). Candidates can apply for both or only one of these events. Should you apply for both, please send a separate application for each of them.