418 Denny Hall

206-543-7586

djholman@u.washington.edu.

This course will introduce you to the concepts and methods of taking complex real-world systems and creating quantitative models of the system. By the end of the quarter, you will have gained experience in modeling the behavior of a system, developing testable hypotheses, and using observations (taken from fieldwork or data sets) to statistically evaluate hypotheses arising from the model. We will survey some of the concepts, tools, and methods for developing models based on underlying biocultural processes, as well as the methods of testing models from observations collected in anthropological field studies. We will focus on methods for longitudinal research of fertility, mortality, disease dynamics, population genetics, and other biocultural processes, but the concepts and methods are applicable to many other types of anthropological and biocultural research covering the life span.

After a brief introduction to modeling, we will focus on three modeling techniques. (1) We will briefly examine dynamic simulation models. (2) We will spend much time on developing likelihood models. These are models that can be developed from theoretical foundations and can be fit to real data. (3) We will examine simulation models and techniques.

10:30-12:20 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday in 402 Denny

After class. Other times can be arranged. My email address is djholman@u.washington.edu, or click here.

There are no required textbooks for this course. I will, however, recommend some of the more important books for this course. Most readings will be provided on-line at https://csde.washington.edu/~djholman/bioa526/.

Your course grade will be based on six problem sets (8% each) and a final project (52%).

The six problem sets will consist of several modeling exercises. Frequently, the problems will require the use of computer software. I recommend that you get an account on the CSDE Windows network, as all the required software will be available on those systems. Data sets and other helpful material will be available on the web site. You are free to use books, readings, notes, and web pages to help you work on the problems. You can work in groups, but I recommend you tackle the problems yourselves. Grades for late problem sets will depreciate by 10% per day, including any fraction of a day late. Problem sets are due by the beginning of the class period, one calendar week after being handed out.

There are two software programs we will be using. The first is STELLA, a dynamic modeling and simulation program. A limited version of STELLA is available with one of the optional textbooks or can be downloaded from here. If you think STELLA will be useful for your research, a full-feature version is available at a substantial student discount from the publisher. The CSDE terminal servers have STELLA installed.

The second software package is called mle, and is written by your instructor. You can use this program for maximum likelihood estimation and simulation programming. The software is free here. Extensive documentation is available online. You can download a pdf version of the documents for browsing or printing. The mle program will also be installed on the CSDE terminal servers. Most of the exercises that use mle can be done in other statistical programming languages (splus, R, Matlab, Gauss, Octave). You are free to use any of these for your work under the idea that learning one such language will help you understand any other. For the statistical programming exercises, mle will be easiest program to use, but other languages (Gauss, R, Matlab) are suitable.

**Books on probability, likelihood, stochastic modeling, model selection**

**Readings (Online readings
here [requires uwnetid])**