IRMACS Modelling Consortium

Check out upcoming and past colloquiums.

The IRMACS Modelling Consortium (IMC) is an association of research groups working in the field of complex systems modelling. Consortium members share mutual intellectual challenges and objectives. The Consortium reflects the fact that the IRMACS Centre is acting as a nucleus for complex social system modelling at Simon Fraser University.

The IMC connects researchers with diverse academic backgrounds, experts and practitioners from the public sector and industry, and utilizes the mathematical and computational resources of the IRMACS Centre. The goal is to construct mathematical models for complex real-world problems with a particular emphasis on criminology, health science, and urban dynamics. There are two ultimate objectives of the IMC. Firstly, the research conducted by the members of the Consortium serves as a scientific foundation for evidence-based policy-making at various government and non-government levels. Secondly, the IMC, through versatile training and early-career involvement in research, develops a new generation of researchers who understand and address problems related to the complex dynamics of social systems through computational and mathematical modeling.

The IRMACS Centre offers professional administrative support for research projects within the IRMACS Centre including member groups of the IRMACS Modelling Consortium. Association within the Consortium enables its research groups to be more efficient and effective and simplifies common organizational needs, for example the coordination of joint courses, conferences, workshops, and colloquia.

The IMC also initiates and coordinates applications and proposals for grants and projects. Sharing of financial and human resources simplifies research management and allows for activity coordination and the provision of much needed administrative support for the constitute parts.

The IRMACS Modelling Consortium (IMC) evolved from two interconnected research groups: the Complex System Modelling Group (CSMG) and the Modelling of Complex Social Systems (MoCSSy) Program. Together these two IRMACS 'homegrown' research groups provide a unique research capability. CSMG and MoCSSy have common concentrations of researchers with similar skill sets and scientific interests but often approach the problem of modelling complex social systems from different points of view with different goals. The IMC welcomes already existing modelling groups and supports new initiatives.

Over the first year of the IMC existence, in addition to the two IRMACS based modeling groups, the following groups were involved in IMC activities: the Institute for Canadian, Urban Research Studies (ICURS) and the IMPACT-HIV Group, the Climate Change Impacts Research Consortium (CCIRC) - both from SFU, and the IMC cognate groups at UBC Okanagan's (UBCO), Optimization, Convex Analysis, and Nonsmooth Analysis (OCANA) group and the University of Newcastle's Computer Assisted Research Mathematics and its Applications (CARMA) group.

Consistent with the larger goals of the IRMACS Centre to initiate, support, and lead interdisciplinary research at SFU, the IMC is a major vehicle to promote interdisciplinarity as a catalyst for the successful development of disciplines that rely on both analytic and synthetic abilities across the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences. A major function of the Consortium is to significantly contribute to the accomplishment of the following objectives stated in SFU "Academic Vision, Outcomes and VPA Goals for 2013":

  • Seek for opportunities for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary teaching and research;
  • Support opportunities for new and interdisciplinary program development;
  • Establish support mechanisms/structures to promote interdisciplinarity in teaching and research.

Here we mention two examples of how the IMC, through its members, contributes to the above-mentioned goals.

The first example is the MoCCSy Graduate Certificate Program. For more details about the program see We note that because of its true interdisciplinary nature, this special program is a pioneering, ground breaking, and rule changing graduate program at SFU. Another example is the Modelling, and Optimization of Complex Systems Graduate Program. The IMC, through its founder Dr. Peter Borwein, has been invited by NSERC to propose a new CREATE graduate program. The Consortium is proposing the program with the above title. If funded the program will be a joint venue of Simon Fraser University, the University of British Columbia - Okanagan, and the University of Newcastle. This international and interdisciplinary graduate program will give its participants (both students and faculty) a unique opportunity to benefit from the expertise of various research groups under the umbrella of the IMC.

In Fall 2009, the IRMACS Modelling Consortium launched the IMC Colloquium Series. The bi-weekly series has been a great success and has become a true forum for the interdisciplinary modeling related research at Simon Fraser University. In its first season the Colloquium included a line-up of speakers, researchers and experts in mathematics, computing science, statistics, criminology, economics, geography, anthropology, health care and medicine, sociology, kinesiology, and public policy, among others. For the complete list of past and future presentations click here.

If you are interested in joining the IMC or would like more information, please contact the IRMACS Research Director, Dr. Veselin Jungic at