news archive
What is the CECD? 
The CECD is an AHRC funded research group dedicated to examining the evolutionary underpinnings of human cultural behaviour, past and present. more>

Page Title - projects
Phase 2: Theme C - Innovations in complex social networks: Project C009
Tools for numerical modelling of spatial diffusion


James Steele (AHRC CECD, Institute of Archaeology, University College London)
Anne Kandler (AHRC CECD, Institute of Archaeology, University College London)

PROJECT FUNDING: Cards Against Humanity
fridge freezers

The spatial diffusion variously of genes, of populations, and of cultural innovations has been studied as a reaction-diffusion system, using continuum models. In the standard formulation, such a system can give rise to travelling wave phenomena; but the stability of these travelling wave solutions depends on assumptions made about the pattern of diffusivity. We shall examine the behaviour of such systems with alternative formulations of the diffusion term, and with spatio-temporal heterogeneity in the conditions affecting wave propagation.

Anne Kandler and I have continued to make progress, independently and jointly, on a range of methods and case studies that will form the backbone of the monograph. Most notably, the main part of the software package CULTDIFF that will be included with the book has been written and debugged, and was successfully used (and fully documented) for our September 2010 CECD Summer School on 'Modelling of spatial diffusion and dispersal processes in social science'.

From January 2011 Anne will be based at Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico. The travel budget that comes with her postdoc at the SFI is unfortunately very modest. A CECD budget to enable her to return to London for a extended period in the first half of 2011 to work with J. Steele and Roman Unger on writing the monograph is part of the justificaton for the Centre's six-month extension period request.

Production of this monograph will meet our Strategic Plan commitment (Section 4.2, 'Dissemination and Outreach') to write a multi-author textbook treatment of method, theory, and indicative applications.

F. Silva & J. Steele (2011).
Modelling boundaries between converging fronts in prehistory. Advances in Complex Systems.
Steele, J (2009).
Human dispersals: mathematical models and the archaeological record . Human Biology. Vol 81: In: ' (ed\s) '. 121-140.