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Deadline extension - CFP: The plurality of numerical methods and their philosophical analysis

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  • Julie Jebeile
    *Deadline extension: The deadline for submissions is now 20 June 2011. * * * *CALL FOR PAPERS* International Conference: *“The plurality of numerical methods
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 3, 2011

      Deadline extension: The deadline for submissions is now 20 June 2011.



      International Conference: “The plurality of numerical methods in computer simulations and their philosophical analysis”

      Presented by the IHPST, Institut d’Histoire et de Philosophie des Sciences et des Techniques, University of Paris 1.


      Scientific committee: Anouk Barberousse (IHPST), Cyrille Imbert (Archives Poincaré), Julie Jebeile (IHPST), Margaret Morrison (University of Toronto)

      Confirmed invited speakers: Robert Batterman (University of Pittsburgh), François Dubois (CNAM, Université Paris Sud), Emmanuel Grenier (Ecole Normale Supérieure, Lyon), Paul Humphreys (University of Virginia)

      Organizers: Anouk Barberousse (IHPST) and Julie Jebeile (IHPST)


      3-4-5 November 2011, IHPST


      Numerical methods are preconditions of computer simulations: the latter would just be impossible without the former. Numerical methods are used for solving mathematical equations in computer simulations, especially when equations are not analytically tractable or take too long to be solved by other means. In other words, numerical methods are a necessary medium between the theoretical model and the simulation. Is this medium transparent or does it add a representational layer that would differ from the theoretical model?

      If numerical methods are not transparent, does the plurality of methods mean that each one of them must be associated with a specific definition of computer simulations? Is it possible to provide a unique definition of computer simulation?

      Besides, numerical methods must satisfy constraints that are specific to the computational architecture (parallel, sequential, digital or analog) and to the peculiar features of the machine (in terms of computational power, storage, system resource). To which extent do these constraints threaten the accuracy of the representation of the system under study that simulation models provide?

      Another set of questions relates to the plurality of numerical methods, usually underestimated by philosophers. Let us mention some of them:  methods for solving first-order or second-order differential equations, such as Euler’s, Runge-Kutta’s, Adams-Moulton’s and Numerov’s; the finite difference method; the finite element method; the Monte Carlo method; the Metropolis algorithm; the particle methods; etc. For a given problem, on what ground does one choose such or such numerical method? Does the choice depend on the nature of the problem? In some scientific disciplines, the Monte-Carlo method is preferably used for providing results of reference (benchmarks), and therefore for allowing the validation of differential equation-based simulations. How may the special functions attributed to some numerical methods be explained?

      We invite both philosophers and scientists to submit an extended abstract of 1000 words and a short abstract of 100 words on any of the above or closely related questions. Please e-mail contributions appropriately prepared for blind review to Julie Jebeile (julie.jebeile@...).


      New Submission Deadline: June 20, 2011

      Acceptance Notification: July 15, 2011

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