MODSIM Day 1: Honeybee Colony Collapse

The MODSIM 2015 International Congress on Modelling and Simulation opened today with a plenary talk by Mary Myerscough on honeybee colony collapse disorder. The talk was based on work published in PLOS ONE and in PNAS.

Mathematical modelling strongly suggests that the problem is caused by the death of foraging bees. The colony reacts by drafting younger hive bees into the foraging role. This strategy works well as a response to short-term problems but, since younger bees are less effective foragers, it sets up a positive feedback loop which can cause colony collapse. What is worse, the signs of impending collapse are subtle, being reflected only in the number of adult bees.

This interesting talk also provided a wonderful answer to the perennial question “how is mathematics useful?” The mathematics was accessible to anyone who could understand differential equations, and the problem was accessible to anyone at all. And, because of their role as pollinators, bees are very, very important.


MODSIM 2013 Day 6 (Friday)

The 20th International Congress on Modelling and Simulation (MODSIM2013) in Adelaide is finishing up today. There will be a busy morning programme, and after lunch the MODSIM Student Prizes will be announced.

It’s been a great event, and we will get the opportunity to repeat it in two years time – at MODSIM2015 in Queensland!

Statistics for MODSIM2013: 514 full papers, 290 abstract-only talks (804 total talks), 809 delegates, 32 countries represented.


Farewell South Australia – the S.A. floral emblem

MODSIM 2013 Day 5 (Thursday)

MODSIM2013 is continuing in Adelaide. Jerzy Filar (Flinders University) and Russell Glenn (Australian National University) will be giving plenary presentations, and there will be over 200 other talks today.

The first plenary, entitled “The power and limitations of mathematical models and Plato’s Cave Parable,” sounds particularly intriguing, given my interest in Plato and Platonism.


Plato’s Cave (Michiel Coxie, 16th century)

In the afternoon, I will be chairing a session on Homeland Security and Emergency Management applications of modelling and simulation, which includes six presentations:

The conference dinner will also be held today. That will be fun!


The Torrens River, near the conference venue