Workshop: Computing action policies that ensure resilience of social and ecological systems

Resilience is generally defined in the framework of dynamic system theory (attractors, attraction domains, bifurcations): a system is resilient to a perturbation when this perturbation keeps the system in domains of attractors where the system shows the desired properties or functions. However, this definition has two strong limitations: (i) It supposes no possibility to modify the dynamics, whereas socio-ecological systems often involve stakeholders and managers who want to define efficient policies of action. (ii) It supposes that a set of the dynamics attractors show the desired properties, whereas these properties could appear only at non-equilibrium states.

This tutorial workshop will show how new methods, based on viability theory, can overcome these limitations and provide means to compute action policies favouring the recovery from perturbations, and maintain some systems in a desired non-equilibrium state.

This approach has nevertheless a drawback: it is very demanding computationally. This is why the workshop will also introduce methods to simplify complex models. These methods, inspired from physics, can, under certain conditions, derive simple dynamical systems (involving a small set of synthetic variables) representing the main features (patterns) of the dynamics observed in a complex individual or agent based model.

Several contributions to this workshop will show case studies where these methods for simplifying an individual based model are coupled with the computation of action policies favouring resilience. The workshop will also include ‘hands on’ demonstrations of software recently developed to assist with these methods.

The workshop draws on research conducted by the PATRES (Pattern resilience) project, funded by the European Commission under FP6, as part of its New and Emerging Science and Technology (NEST) programme.

A limited number of places are available for a nominal registration fee, with no charge for meals and accommodation. Early application is advised (see below).

The workshop will be held on the island of Madeira from Wednesday 21 October to Thursday 22 October 2009 (with arrival on Tuesday and departure on Friday) at the Hotel Escola ( ).

The tutorial workshop will include talks on ‘What is resilience?’, ‘Viability and resilience’, ‘Computing viability and resilience, ‘The macro description of individual based models’, ‘Bridging the gap between structurally realistic models and viability theory in savanna ecosystems’, ‘Bacterial biofilms’, Viability and resilience in the dynamics of language competition’, ‘Resilience in the dynamics of collaborative Web communities’ ‘Resilience and viability problems in social dilemma modelling’, and software sessions.

Participants will be expected to have some background in mathematics and an interest in complexity science.

Applications should be made to Nigel Gilbert by the deadline of 15 September 2009 in the form of an email attaching a brief CV and statement of your interest in the workshop. You will be notified of success in your application by 19 September.

There is a nominal charge of 50 euros for attendance at the workshop, payable in advance. Participants are responsible for arranging and paying for their travel to Madeira. There are frequent flights from many European airports ( ).

Further information about the PATRES project may be found at

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at