EU COST Action MP0801: "Physics of Competition, Cooperation and Conflicts"
The COST MP0801 action aims at extending and improving concepts and methods from statistical physics, to reach a better understanding of complex socio-economic problems. This aim is in line with one of the hottest research topics worldwide, namely a fundamental quantitative understanding of social interaction by using multi-agent computer simulations, predictive methods from time series analysis, recent ﬁndings from network theory, and statistical and analytical methods. These methods have been partly developed in other scientiﬁc areas, such as condensed matter physics or biological physics. In these areas, systems can be seen as comprised of interacting entities (atoms, cells) which produce, as the result of the collective interaction, new systems dynamics and emergent properties. Such methods may be transferable to social or economic systems which are also comprised of interacting entities (humans, ﬁrms) and generate a large variety of collective effects (ranging from the emergence of social norms to world-wide trade networks). Because of the inherent complexity of socio-economic interaction, the outcome of such a global dynamics is (i) hard to predict, and (ii) difﬁcult to control or to design. New theoretical approaches are thus needed to achieve this goal – which are at the heart of the new COST action.
The main objective of this action is to apply methods developed in statistical physics to accomplish a new quantitave understanding of competition and conﬂicts in socioeconomic systems. So, different from various other activities in the ﬁeld of conﬂict research, the COST MP0801 action invites the collaboration of physicists. In recent years, statistical physics has already successfully contributed to interdisciplinary ﬁelds, such as ﬁnancial market models or risk assessment. Therefore, a transfer of methods and tools from statistical physics into the area of social interaction should be a promising endaveour. An additional objective is to increase the understanding of the fundamental principles underlying the problems of uncertainty and complexity in the socio-economic realms.
The COST MP0801 action grew out of a number of European activities, in particular the previous COST P10 action ”Physics of Risk” which ended in June 2008 and was a highly successful one. A major focus of COST P10 was the application of physics concepts in ﬁnance, whereas the new actions takes the ’bigger challenge’, namely applications in social systems at large. COST MP0801 has the advantage to build on an already established European network of collaborations, which will be extended by new nodes with particular competence in modeling social systems.
The scientiﬁc programme of the COST MP0801 action rests on ﬁve mutually related Working Groups (WG):
The Swiss Chapter of COST MP0801
Quantitative research in the social sciences, using agent-based computer simulations and other techniques developed for complex systems, is still in an infant stage – not just in Switzerland, but also internationally. This also relates to the fact that social science research receives considerably less external funding, compared to the natural or life sciences. Participating in this action, allows the Swiss nodes to quickly improve this situation, by accessing the competence and using collaborations with other European nodes.
The Swiss interest in COST MP0801 can be grouped into three points:
Swiss projects related to this COST action: