Simula@BI: Mean Field Models in Physics and Social Science - from Micro to Macro

Speaker: Avi Mayorcas, University of Cambridge.

  • Starts:13:30, 19 May 2022
  • Ends:14:30, 19 May 2022
  • Location:Hybrid event: auditorium A2-030 at BI Oslo & Zoom
  • Contact:Siri Johnsen (siri.johnsen@bi.no)

Many important physical systems from ionised plasmas to galactic dynamics involve the interactions of extremely large numbers of individual bodies. In the language of mathematics these large systems have huge numbers of degrees of freedom which makes both analysis and simulation very challenging.

The mean field approach, which dates back to the work of Pierre Curie and Pierre Weiss on phase transitions, attempts to reduce these degrees of freedom by studying a simplified, lower dimensional model which captures the important statistics of the underlying system. To make this more concrete, instead of attempting to track the trajectories of every ion in a plasma, instead one asks what is the probability of finding an ion with given velocity at a given location at any given time.

Recently this approach has been applied to modelling large systems of interacting agents in the social sciences, using the framework of mean field games (Huang, Malhamé & Caines ’06 and Lasry & Lions ’07).

In this talk I will give a non-mathematicians introduction to the classical theory of mean field dynamics in physical systems and describe how this framework has been adapted to modelling large systems in social sciences.

This seminar is within the field of statistics/econometrics.