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University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences

Media Advisory:

Pitt Conference to Focus on Philosophical Side of Modeling and Simulation

WHAT: The University of Pittsburgh Models of infectious Disease Agent Study (MIDAS) National Center of Excellence is sponsoring the Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation Conference, an assembly that will address the philosophical issues that arise during modeling and simulation research.

WHO: Speakers include Nicholas Rescher, distinguished university professor of philosophy at the University of Pittsburgh, Marc Lipsitch, director of the MIDAS Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics at the Harvard School of Public Health, and Wendy Parker, assistant professor of philosophy at Ohio University. In addition to the MIDAS National Center of Excellence, sponsors include the University of Pittsburgh Center for Philosophy of Science, the University of Pittsburgh Center for Simulation and Modeling and the International Association for Philosophy and Computing. The principal investigator of the MIDAS National Center of Excellence is Donald S. Burke, M.D., dean of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. 

WHEN: Friday, April 1 – Sunday, April 3

WHERE: The University Club, 123 University Pl., Pittsburgh, PA 15260

WHY: What kind of problems arise when researchers juggle multiple and competing models? How do models fail? These are a few of the questions that will be addressed at the three-day Epistemology of Modeling and Simulation Conference, which aims to encourage collaboration between philosophers of science and those who build and employ models in a range of disciplines and applications. The conference will bring together internationally renowned professors of philosophy and developers of computer modeling and simulations. Other discussion topics will include:

  • The scientific status of computational techniques
  • The role of theory, experiment, model and simulation
  • Varieties and purposes of scientific simulation
  • Analytic modeling versus computer simulation
  • Validation and verification of models and simulations
  • Promises and pitfalls of large, detailed and realistic models

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