Every field has insider knowledge. The wisdom of experience is rarely found in the published literature or standard texts. In computational modelling, there is an art to designing and implementing effective and efficient simulations. Software is often made available, but the insights that went into designing it stay with the modeller. Complex systems modelling has its own wisdom – good ways to design, and traps to beware – often designed to explore relationships between mechanisms and behaviour at multiple temporal and spatial scales.

Fields such as software engineering and architecture have benefited from the development of abstract solutions to recurring problems, called patterns. "Patterns" are a formalism first developed 40 years ago in the field of architecture to capture the wisdom of architectural design, and have since been adopted by many other fields, most recently by software engineering to facilitate reuse of software frameworks, algorithms and code. Patterns are typically proposed in a prototype form, then workshopped by experienced users.

The Complex Systems Patterns Project is a long term project with the overall goal of capturing the wisdom of the complex systems modelling community. Its activities involve documenting patterns, and organising workshops for proposing and refining patterns, and provide a repository for collating patterns useful to complex systems modellers.

This project has been run since January 2005 by Janet Wiles, James Watson, David Carrington and Jim Hanan, and is supported by: