ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2010

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Grid computing for social science researchers: Where are we and where can we go?

Lyndon Walker

Building: Holme Building
Room: Sutherland Room
Date: 2010-12-03 09:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Last modified: 2010-11-17


This presentation is intended as an introduction to grid computing and its applications to social science research.  It will have two parts, focussing firstly on some current examples of grid-based research (the where are we), and then secondly on some ideas for future research (the where can we go).  In the first part of my presentation I will present examples of current social science research that is taking advantage of high speed computing resources and grid technology, including my own grid-based evolutionary optimisation model of inter-ethnic partnership matching, as well as examples from published research, including studies of residential segregation, the anthropologic modelling of language using phylogenetic trees, and fraud detection and criminology.  The second part of my presentation will focus on how social science researchers can make better use of grid technology.  Many institutions now have grid computing resources available for researchers.  However, they are often under-utilised, and where they are being used, it is more commonly by researchers in the “hard” sciences rather than the social sciences.  Some researchers may see the adoption of this new technology as daunting, and too difficult, but with considerable investment going into a high-power computer system, there are normally institutional support networks available.  Beyond this, there are often opportunities for collaborative research where social scientists can collaborate with programmers and technical specialists, and even adopt new research paradigms such as those presented in the first part of the presentation.