Human behaviour to be a part of mathematical modelling

The topic of the summer school of the Systems Analysis Laboratory was modelling human behavior in the field of Operational Research.

Modelling and systems analysis is increasingly used when making decisions in complex problems which have important societal and industrial impacts. Such problems include, for example, measures and evaluations related to climate change. So far, it has been commonly thought that in decision making it is enough to focus only on the physical or economic dependencies. However,

“The new research field of Behavioural Operational Research emphasizes that in problem solving and decision making which is based on mathematical modelling we also need to understand factors related to human behavior. We need to recognize the effects of communication styles, cognitive biases as well as emotions in decision making”, says Professor Raimo Hämäläinen.

The thoughts of Nobel Laureate Daniel Kahneman on thinking fast and slow, which have received wide publicity, also relate to this new field. Moreover, we are interested in knowing what really takes place in the brain when people use models.

The Behaviour Operational Research (BOR) Summer School was a success

The Systems Analysis Laboratory in the Aalto SCI organized 16.-25.5.2016 an international summer school for doctoral students. The theme is about modelling human behavior and about modelers as users of mathematical models in the field of Operational Research.

The Summer School was the first one organized in this area. It attracted interest in universities all around the world. We had 47 participants representing 25 countries. The participants were mainly doctoral students, but also post doc researchers and even professors.

The speakers in the five-day Summer School were internationally acknowledged top researchers.  The themes covered included problem structuring methods, decision making, systems intelligence, forecasting, simulation and brain research. The materials and presentation videos are available on the BOR site.

The participants gave very positive feedback. This is a major step in the building of this new international multidisciplinary research community. Through the Summer School, Aalto University appeared as a strong, forward-looking university with multi-disciplinary research excellence ranging from decision-making, and systems analysis to brain research.

For further information

Raimo P. Hämäläinen
Systems Analysis Laboratory
[email protected]

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