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CS405 - Introduction to Empirical Modelling 2011/12


The key themes of the module are summarised in the description of computer science taught modules. The way in which these themes are developed varies from year to year, as can be seen from the previous CS405 webpages to which links are given below. Much of the material by way of papers and models discussed in the module is drawn from the Empirical Modelling website. Most of the models in the projects archive were developed using variants of the well-established EDEN interpreter, as documented under the Software link on the left of this page. For the two last years, a variant of the EDEN interpreter, devised by Nick Pope, was also deployed in the module: this has subsequently been further developed as a research prototype for a radically new EM tool called CADENCE. For 2011-12, both EDEN and CADENCE will be used in the labs and lectures. CADENCE opens up new opportunities for Empirical Modelling projects that address issues that have proved problematic with EDEN. Some familiarity with EDEN is a prerequisite for understanding the material to be presented in the module, but either CADENCE, or EDEN, or both can be used in the assessed work submission.


For 2011-12, CS405 will run in Term 1, weeks 1-10:

  • Lecture: Monday 1pm in CS104
  • Lab Session: Tuesday 12 noon - 2 pm in CS104/CS001
  • Lecture: Thursday 4 pm in CS104

Karl King, Consultant at Databuild Research and Solutions Ltd, will give a guest lecture on Monday December 5th 1-2pm in CS1.04 on the theme of Empirical Modelling to inform the delivery of government policy.

Drawing on his experience of developing models for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Karl will provide insight into how EM principles and techniques can be applied to explore and understand the most cost effective ways of encouraging and enabling businesses in the UK to use natural resources in the most effective way, as many times as possible, while minimising the impact of their use on the environment.

Karl is an MSc graduate from the EM research group. In addition to EM, his interests include: Strategic use of information systems, The development and deployment of management information systems, Philosophy of computing, Developing methodologies for assessing the impact of government funded projects, programmes and initiatives, Behavioural economics.

Remember the module forum

Previous material 2005-6, 2006-7, 2007-8, 2008-9, 2009-10 and 2010-11 is available for those interested. The current CS405 page is here.

See also:
The First Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Second Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Third Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Fourth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM
The Fifth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM

Download the tkeden tool (version 1.73 is now the default on the departmental Linux system and is available for download for Windows and Mac from the EM website). This tool will be extensively used for demonstration purposes in lectures and in the lab sessions. The Cadence tool exists as a research prototype that will also be introduced in the labs and lectures.


The principal component of coursework, and the only component for MEng students, takes the form of a submission of a paper and an accompanying modelling exercise to the Eighth Warwick Electronic Bulletin on EM (WEB-EM-8). This is worth 50% of the total credit for the module. The deadline for this submission is 12 noon on Tuesday 31st January 2012 in week 3 of Term 2. You will be able to choose the theme of your submission subject to approval of an abstract and proposal for an associated modelling study to be submitted by 12 noon on Wednesday 23rd November (week 8) . Your proposal will be approved subject to suitability and originality. Full details of the submission procedure can be found here.

MSc students have an additional coursework exercise worth 10% of the total credit; this involves an exercise in documentation and comprehension in Term 1 (this has been newly introduced for 2011-12). Details of this assignment, which entails groupwork to be assessed in a special lab session from 12 noon to 1.30 pm in CS0.01 on Tuesday 15th November, can be found here. All students studying CS405 this year are encouraged to explore the resources developed for this exercise, as this may be helpful in preparing your submission for WEB-EM-8.


The examination contributes 50% to the overall mark for the module for MEng students and 40% for MSc students. The format of the CS405 exam for 2011-12 will be unchanged: Question 1 is a compulsory question, and you must answer two questions out of the other four. You will have 3 hours to answer the paper. Previous exam papers are available online from the Warwick Exam Papers archive.

Detailed guidance to assist your revision for the CS405 examination (cf. the webpages for previous years) can be found here.


Lecture 1 - Reflecting on Lab 1 (Thursday 6th October)
(PDF document) Lecture text: Modelling with definitive scripts
(PDF document) Handout: CADENCE in context auxiliary slides
Other relevant links:

Lecture 2 - Going beyond classical programming (Monday 10th October)
See notes for lecture 1 and the palin.e EDEN script

Lecture 3 - EM orientation (Thursday 13th October)
(PDF document) Handout: More about Cadence
(PDF document) Handout: John Dewey (1916) on experience
LINKScripts for first version of cartoonstargate construal:
cartoonstargate0.d, rotring.e, stargatedial.e
LINKThe EMPE presentation on "From Programs to Construals" can be replayed by using tkeden as explained here 

Lecture 4 - Construals and Intelligence (Monday 17th October)
(PDF document) Handout: Background information for studying CS405
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Intelligence - artificial and real
(PDF document) Handout: A Mensa problem with commentary extracted from EM paper #50
LINKDemonstration of construal in a commonsense context based on EM model liftBeynon2003

Lecture 5 - Introducing modelling with definitive scripts (Thursday 20th October)
LINKDiscussion of Lab 3 exercise based on EM model cabinetdigitpresBeynon2007
LINKThe EMPE presentation discussing semantics and the cabinet-digit model can be replayed by using tkeden as explained here

LINKThe semantics of definitive scripts revisited with reference to the Exercises introduced in Lab 3

Lecture 6 - Modelling with definitive scripts 1 (Monday 24th October)
LINKIntroduction to the WEB-EM-8 coursework assignment (50% of total credit)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Modelling with definitive scripts
(PDF document) Handout: Notes on definitive notations as cited in Handout for Lecture 3
LINKThe EMPE presentation based on Shao's demo of roomYung1989 can be replayed by using tkeden as explained here

Lecture 7 - Modelling with definitive scripts 2 and programming with Eden (Thursday 27th October)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Introduction to EDEN from a practical perspective (Slides 1-20)
LINKDiscussion of the role for definitions, functions and actions in EDEN based on the EM 'jugs' model jugsBeynon2008

Lecture 8 - Modelling with definitive scripts 3 and programming with dependency (Monday 31st October)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Introduction to Donald and Scout from a practical perspective (Slides 21-42)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Introduction to the Angel notation
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Dependency by definition in Imagine-d Logo - EDEN presentation / notes on Imagine Logo use
LINKOnline paper: Dependency by definition in Imagine-d Logo: applications and implications

Lecture 9 - Education-related themes in EM as illustrated by an EM OXO model (Thursday 3rd November)
LINKOnline model (to be run with tkeden-1.67): oxoGardner1999 with some observables for use with the symbol info tool in syminfoBeynon2011
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The experimental paradox
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The onion metaphor (Slides 1-6)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Taking account of situation, ignorance and nonsense (SIN) (Slides 7 and 8)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The Experiential Framework for Learning / Understanding Forwards

Lectures 10 and 11 - Human Computing and an EM perspective on Computer Science (Monday 7th and Thursday 10th November)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Human Computing
(PDF document) Lecture slides: What is CS? - an EM perspective (slides presented in the lecture with some additional commentary from SBR)

Lecture 12 - Constructionism from an EM perspective (Monday 14th November)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Introducing constructionism slides and extract from Chris Roe's thesis
(PDF Document) Slides Computer Support for Constructionism in Context (PowerPoint from a tkeden presentation)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Epistemological Pluralism

Lecture 13 - Rethinking Programming (Thursday 17th November)
(PDF Document) Lecture slides: Rethinking programming: modelling heapsort as a case study
(PDF Document) Supplementary slides: Heapsort auxiliary slides
(PDF Document) Handout: Heapsort model interactions (use in conjunction with /dcs/acad/wmb/public/projects/misc/HEAPSORT/HEAPSORT2011)
LINKOnline model: heapsortBeynon2008 (now updated as /dcs/acad/wmb/public/projects/misc/HEAPSORT/HEAPSORT2011)
LINKOnline paper: Rethinking Programming

Lecture 14 - Programming from an EM perspective (Monday 21st November)
(PDF document) Viewing computing as construction: A personal construal of modes in the vi editor
(PDF   document) Ben-Ari on Constructivism in Computer Science education
A study in personal construal: the "vi editor modes" model
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Programming from an EM perspective summary
LINKOnline model: linesBeynon1991 (which doesn't work fully on "modern" versions of tkeden - needs tkeden-1.46)

Lecture 15 - Multi-agent EM (Thursday 24th November)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Towards a conceptual framework for general computing applications
LINKOnline model: cubesymWong2001
LINKOnline model: antnavigationKeer2010
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Notes on the ant navigation model

LINKOnline video: The Amazing Cataglyphis Ant

Lecture 16 - Introducing the LSD notation (28th November)
(PDF document) Handout: LSD for domain analysis and description (EM for concurrency Lecture 4)
LINKLSD examples online: with special reference to railway station arrival-departure protocol, vehicle cruise controller, telephone
LINKLSD examples: Animating the train arrival-departure account (see ~wmb/public/projects/simulations/train)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The LSD notation and the ODA framework

Lecture 17 - The Abstract Definitive Machine (1st December)
(PDF document) Handout: The Abstract Definitive Machine (ADM) (EM for concurrency Lecture 7)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: The ADM
LINKOnline model: railwayYung1995 (updated version railwayBeynon2010 pending!)

Lecture 18 - Guest lecture: Karl King, Databuild (5th December)
(PDF document) Handout: Empirical Modelling to inform the delivery of government policy

Lecture 19 - EM for Systems Development (6th December)
(PDF document) Lecture slides: Empirical Modelling for Systems Development
(PDF document) Handout: Empirical Modelling Artefacts in Concurrent Systems Modelling (EM for concurrency Lecture 6)
LINKOnline model: digitalwatchFischer1999
LINKOnline model: digitalwatchRoe2001
LINKOnline resources relating to the Clayton Tunnel Disaster: claytontunnelChanHarfield2005, claytontunnelSun1999
For a brief account of the accident, see claytontunnelSun1999/Website/discussion.htm.
For miscellaneous screenshots, see claytontunnelSun1999/claytontunnelshots-echan-apr05/
For more extensive discussion, see EM paper 053: Computer-mediated communication: a distributed Empirical Modelling perspective.

Lecture 20 - Additional resources for EM (8th December)
(PDF document) Handout: EM for concurrency summary and additional resources
(PDF document) Handout: A new curriculum for CS (based on Thinking Through Computing 2007)
(PDF document) Handout: CS405 examination skeleton


For background information on UNIX, please consult Chapter 4 Getting Started in the online version of "Introducing UNIX and Linux", and other relevant teaching material.

      For purposes of keeping in touch whilst you are preparing your WEB-EM-8 submission, please use the CS405 Forum and make sure that your email is configured so that (a) you receive messages sent to your user account in Computer Science (see my message on Forum of 21/11/11 regarding the MSc first assignment) and (b) are notified by email of postings to the forum.