Complex Systems and Computational Social Science Research


A core challenge for 21st century science is to develop fundamental new insights for understanding and managing the complexity of social systems such as dynamic systems of technological innovation, diffusion processes which explain the spread of diseases, hidden networks of crime and terrorism, dynamic networks of electronic communication and many other such phenomena.

Complex systems are often random and non-linear in their underlying processes. Various and recent research findings suggests these systems are characterised by "multi-scale interactions, emergent behaviour, feed-back across multiple processes, pattern formation and self-organisation".

Recent scientific advances in the field show that our understanding of social complexity is greatly enhanced by innovative computational experimentation, where computational modelling allows successful "experiments"to take place through simulation, to facilitate the systemtic investigation of realistic complex societal phenomena.

Computational social science is an interdisciplinary field applied to the analysis of the underlying processes of social systems. This new and fast-growing field of research is characterised by the application of computer simulation and other computer-based methods to the analysis of social systems and their complexity.

Computational social science is a strongly emergent area of scientific innovation with numerous applications in both the public and private or commercial sectors in Ireland and elsewhere across the world. Members of the CSCS group are engaged in a range of different types of research, some focus on core theoretical development in the field, while others' approach has clear empirical applications, often based on large scale, funded research projects.


Prospective PhD researchers are encouraged to identify their areas of interest based on the Current Research Activities of the Academic Staff listed here:


Academic Research Staff and their research groups associated with the PhD programme in Complex Systems and Computational Social Science are listed below.

Petra Ahrweiler, CASL/School of Business

Ted Cox, CASL/School of Mathematical Sciences

Padraig Cunningham, CASL/School of Computer Science

Jos Elkink, Dynamics Lab/School of Politics and International Relations

Nial Friel, Dynamics Lab/CASL/School of Mathermatical Sciences

Claire Gormley, School of Mathematical Sciences

Brendan Murphy, School of Mathematical Sciences

Diane Payne, Dynamics Lab Geary Institute/CASL

Georgiy Bobashev, UCD Dynamics Lab Adjunct Fellow/ RTI International, USA Link to UCD Research Group

Scott Rickard, CASL/School Electrical, Electronic & Mechanical Engineering