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Anthony Woolcock


Before joining the Complexity Science Doctoral Training Centre I studied Theoretical Physics and Applied Maths (TPAM) at the University of Birmingham. My research interests include:

  • Critical phenomena in Complex Systems
  • Social Dynamics and Opinion Dynamics
  • Theoretical Neuroscience
  • Interacting particle systems and Statistical Mechanics
  • Agent Based Modeling and Numerical Simulation
  • Sentiment Analysis applied to Twitter Data

    PhD Research

    Supervisors: Colm Connaughton (Warwick Maths) and Yasmin Merali (Warwick Business School).

    My current area of research is under the broad heading of Opinion Dynamics. This is the study of many interacting agents through simulation and analysis of tractable models. A well known example of these models is the Axelrod model.

    This is a simple model with agents residing on a 2-d lattice and each having exactly four neighbours. The agents then interact with a probability based on their current state and that of a neighbour (both individuals being selected at random for each simulation step). The more similar the agents are the more likely they are to interact (termed "homophily"). Interacting agents become more similar upon interaction (termed "social influence"). However those agents who have completely different states for their current opinions are unable to interact. Therefore there are two types of final state possible to the simulation. One is consensus where all agents have the same state of opinions. There other is a number of groups who are internally identical in their opinions, but are completely different to their respective neighbouring group. How many opinions each individual can take and also the number of choices for each opinion are critical parameters in this model. For a fixed number of opinions there is a phase transition for the parameter of number of choices per opinion.

    I am currently including a variety of extensions to this model. The influence of the model variations is evaluated through analysis of the dynamics of the simulation and the behaviour of the model near the transition between consensus and fragmented frozen state.

    Selected Bibliography

    • The dissemination of culture. R. Axelrod. Journal of Conflict Resolution, 41(2): 203-226 (1997)
    • Non-monoticity and Divergent Time Scale in Axelrod Model Dynamics, F. Vazquez, S. Redner. Europhysics Letters, Vol 78: 18001-18007 (2007)
    • Effects of noise and confidence thresholds in nominal and metric Axelrod dynamics of social influence. L. De Sanctis, T. Galla. Physical Review E. Vol 79 (2009)



    Anthony Woolcock
    Centre for Complexity Science
    Zeeman Building
    University of Warwick
    CV4 7AL


    a DOT j DOT woolcock AT warwick DOT ac DOT uk