TIGERS-TALK 14: 6.2.17 - Christoph Zollikofer

Agent based model of human dispersal at a global scale

Carl-Vogt at 12.15, room 1: 

Prof. Christoph Zollikofer, University of Zurich

 

Abstract:

Theoretical ecologists dream of modeling entire ecosystems on the basis of individual organisms and their interactions with one another and with their environment. The potential and significance of such Generalized Ecosystems Models (GEMs) are enormous, but so are the theoretical and computational challenges. Here I report on an ongoing research project dedicated to the implementation of a “GEM 1.0”. Specifically, we develop an individual-based simulation framework to study the dispersal of human populations interacting with their changing environment, and over large spatial and temporal scales. The basic question is: how do small-scale/short-term interactions of humans with each other and with their environment result in large-scale/long-term systems properties such as spatiotemporal population dynamics and evolutionary change over time? Before this question can actually be answered, questions of simulation framework design and implementation, as well as questions of model parameterization and validation need to be addressed. In paleoanthropology – where neither in-vivo nor in-vitro experimentation in feasible – GEMs turn out to be valuable in-silico experimentation and hypothesis-testing tools.  

Short bio:

Christoph P.E. Zollikofer studied biology at the University of Zurich, Switzerland, where he received a PhD in neurobiology. After studying music (violoncello), he returned to science for a postdoc in computer science and anthropology. He is currently Professor of Anthropology at the Anthropological Institute of the University of Zurich. His main research field is computer-assisted paleoanthropology, encompassing the investigation of evolutionary and developmental processes in fossil and extant hominids, computational modeling of hominid dispersal processes, and development of biomedical-imaging-based visualization and analysis tools for physical anthropology

 

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