Iza Romanowska

PhD Student, Institute for Complex Systems Simulation (Faculty of Electronics and Computer Science) and Centre for the Archaeology of Human Origins (Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities), University of Southampton


Iza tries to unravel the complex interaction between global climate change, evolution of human plasticity and large scale dispersals of our ancestors 2 million years ago using computer simulations. She leads the Special Interest Group in Complex Systems Simulation and is one of the editors of the simulatingcomplexity blog.


In 2012 having just completed an MA in Archaeology but with virtually no background in mathematics, programming or the exact sciences, I started a PhD in the Institute for Complex Systems Simulation at the University of Southampton. However, despite being rather fast-tracked into Computer Science, this experience has made me a vocal champion of the wider use of simulation to tackle questions about the human past.

I use simulation techniques, in particular Agent-based Modelling (ABM), to study the evolutionary processes that led to the emergence of anatomically modern humans (AMH). I am particularly interested in the earliest journey of the genus Homo: the first ‘Out of Africa’ dispersal 1.8 million years ago, which saw hominins rapidly peopling parts of Africa, Europe and Asia. My research uses the computational framework of ABM to investigate non-linear dynamics between climate fluctuations and the evolution of ‘behavioural versatility’ - an umbrella term to denote human-specific adaptability pattern that enabled our species to reach all corners of the planet and become the most widely distributed organism in history.

I have co-founded the Special Interest Group in Complex Systems Simulation with Juan Barceló and Florencia del Castillo, which organises annual workshops in simulation software for archaeologists. I am also one of the editors (alongside Ben Davies and Stefani Crabtree) of the simulatingcomplexity blog.

For more information please see my institutional homepage and consider following me on Twitter.

Check out contributions by and mentions of Iza Romanowska on www.software.ac.uk