Wilensky Honored For NetLogo, Social Simulation Work

Wilensky Honored For NetLogo, Social Simulation Work

Uri WilenskyUri Wilensky

Northwestern University Professor Uri Wilensky, who created the agent-based modeling language NetLogo, has received the 2018 Rosaria Conte Outstanding Contribution to Social Simulation Award from the European Social Simulation Association (ESSA).

NetLogo, the most widely used agent-based modeling software in the world is used by hundreds of thousands of educators and scientists worldwide who work in a wide variety of domains, including the natural sciences, the social sciences, engineering and professions such as medicine, social policy, and business.

In the social sciences, NetLogo has been used to model and investigate such phenomena as housing segregation in cities, urban sprawl, models of human migration in history, the emergence of economic inequality, the effectiveness of school-choice programs, the spread of rumors, and the emergence of ethnocentrism among many others.

Social simulation is a research field that uses computational methods to study issues in the social sciences. Many social scientists struggle with a steep learning curve when they are exposed to social simulation for the first time. NetLogo, which is used to build publishable agent-based models, is “clearly a significant contribution to the community,” said Gary Polhill, president of the ESSA.

Wilensky is a professor of learning sciences, computer science and complex systems at Northwestern. His research on constructionist learning and methods for teaching and communicating complexity, “are also vital in enabling us to articulate more widely why social simulation is essential to the proper understanding of social systems,” Polhill said.

Wilensky is the founder and current director of the Center for Connected Learning and Computer-Based Modeling and a co-founder of the Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). He co-designed and co-directs the Computer Science/Learning Science PhD program, situated both in McCormick and in the School of Education and Social Policy.

He also is a faculty member in the program of Cognitive Science and Philosophy; the program in Technology and Social Behavior; the Center for Interdisciplinary Exploration and Research in Astrophysics; and the Segal Design Center.

In 2016, Wilensky received the ISDDE prize for excellence in design for his work on NetLogo.

He was honored during the closing ceremony of the 2018 Social Simulation Conference in Stockholm on August 24.

By Julie Deardorff
Last Modified: 1/2/19