The Atlantic Magazine featured the work of William Kennedy, Research Assistant Professor, Center for Social Complexity; Andrew Crooks, Associate Professor, Department of Computational and Data Sciences/Center for Social Complexity, and Computational Social Science PhD students, Talha Oz and Annetta Burger, in an article entitled “What Happens If a Nuclear Bomb Goes Off in Manhattan.” The Atlantic Magazine is well known for publishing articles on both American and global politics and featuring articles on business and technology.
The National Institute for Health selected Ms. Mariela Jennings for a highly prestigious and very competitive data science internship. The internship is with the Biomedical Informatics Applications Development Group, which is located in the DSITP Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research. Leidos, Inc., a global science and technology solutions leader working to solve the world’s toughest challenges in defense, intelligence, homeland security, civil, and health markets, will manage the internship.
Ms. Jennings is a College of Science student majoring in Biology and minoring in Computational and Data Sciences (CDS). As a CDS minor, she is serving as a STARS student (Student Teachers and Researchers). Her STARS advisor, Dr. Joseph Marr, nominated Ms. Jennings due to her academic excellence and professionalism. Dr. Marr is quite proud of NIH’s selection.
The Federal Reserve Board awarded William Ampeh, Lead Technology Analyst Division of Research and Statistics and Computational Science and Informatics PhD student, the 2016 Special Achievement Award for his leadership on two important efforts related to the R statistical programming language.
William spearheaded the formation of a community to promote the use of R across a diverse group of users at the Board. R is open source and widely used outside the Board, so creating a critical mass of users at the Board will generate significant productivity gains and reduce our reliance on expensive proprietary alternatives. But realizing these gains requires creating a community support model; developing, vetting, and sharing code for common tasks; and encouraging individual sections to rewrite code. William stepped forward and has fostered a thriving community.
In addition, William developed and is teaching a course in R to Howard University students. He gathered interested Research Assistants (RAs) and Teaching Assistants (TAs) from the economics community at the Board to assist with the design and teaching of this class. This effort deepens our ties to Howard University and its students, and improves the skill sets of the Board’s RAs and TAs who are helping to teach the course.
Joseph Shaheen, CSS PhD student, was recently invited to share some of his work at the NATO Defence Against Terrorism Centre of Excellence in Ankara, Turkey as a part of a Symposium on the relationship between Media and Terrorism.
His lecture, titled “Daesh’s Use of Social Media: Effective Use of Self-organizing Networks” discussed the process of analysis that was used to produce an earlier publication for the NATO STRATCOM Centre of Excellence, as well as showcased a new agent-based model developed at our program for the successful prediction of extremism on social media.
Friday, 11th September: 3.00pm
A Relationship Between Growth and Size
Rob Axtell, Department of Computational Social Science
Rob will present a relationship between growth rates and sizes of subgroups in heterogeneous populations. Skew size distributions are shown to require heavy-tailed growth rates for stability. Alternatively, heavy-tailed growth processes induce skew sizes. Applications to firms, mutual funds, and bird populations have been investigated. Some abstract computational examples will be presented. The relationship of these new results to the related Gibrat and Kesten processes will be explored.
Friday, 18th September: 3.00pm
Agent Modeling Using GPUs
Matthew Hendry, Department of Computational Social Science
The advances in the computational power of Graphic Processing Units (GPUs) have created supercomputer capabilities at the cost of a cheap PC. Many fields have successfully adapted their algorithms to the highly parallel GPU architecture with significant increase in computational performance. This past summer we explored whether agent-based models could add their name to the growing list of problems amenable to GPUs. I’ll discuss our preliminary results coding two different ABMs and compare them to the MASON implementations.
Friday, 25th September: 3.00pm
Innovation in Software Development as an Evolutionary Process: Comparison Between Software Engineers and Genetic Programming Agents
Randy Casstevens, Department of Computational Social Science
Genetic programming was developed with the goal of having computers automatically develop code without explicitly being told what to do. This resembles many tasks that software engineers face. In the simplest case, a potential user tells the developer an incomplete list of inputs and expected outputs. It is then the software developerâ??s job to convert these software requirements into a design and later into an implementation. This presentation will explore whether patterns seen by software engineers can be recreated using an agent-based model. This model consists of agents that are using genetic programming to automatically generate software solutions.
Data from software engineers competing in a Matlab programming contest will be compared with results gathered from the genetic programming agents. The genetic programming agents will make random changes to the programs and the programs with the best performance are most likely to survive to the next generation. Conversely the software engineers make purposeful, non-random changes to the code. It is not
expected that the genetic programming agents will exhibit all of the same patterns seen by software engineers, but some of the patterns persist. Therefore, these patterns may not be a result of higher cognitive functions of humans, but rather a more fundamental part of evolutionary problem solving.
Much of the power from genetic programming comes from its crossover operator where a section of code is replaced by another individual’s code. In the Matlab contest, developers were also allowed to borrow and modify code from fellow programmers. Furthermore, the code in the Matlab contest evolved over time with changes being contributed by many different programmers. This presentation will compare the products of these two similar, but very different types of software development.
Friday, 2nd October: 10.30am Research 1, Room 301
Using Agent-Based Models as Statistical Models
Ben Klemens, United States Census Bureau
This week’s Friday CSS seminar is being replaced by the CDS/CCDS/Statistics Colloquium Series.
Agent-based models (ABMs) involve the simulation of hundreds to millions of individual agents, each making simple decisions. The results of these decisions are often striking and make a direct qualitative statement. However, ABMs can also be used like traditional statistical models for quantitative analysis. I give the example of an ABM that explains a common anomaly in the distribution of equity prices.
Friday, 9th October: 3.00pm
Introduction to NetLogo
Holly Russo, Department of Computational Social Science
NetLogo is a Java-based modeling environment and one of the easiest environments in which to construct an agent-based model with a rich visualization quickly. It is also free and has extensive resources such as a huge model library full of example code and a pretty good userâ??s manual. Many of the Computational Social Science classes you will take will require you to build an agent-based model, and usually you will have the choice of modeling environments. NetLogo is a great option for those of you not comfortable with another language yet or even as a programming â??white boardâ?? for rapid prototyping and testing of algorithms. However, NetLogo is also capable of some pretty sophisticated programs and provides Systems Dynamics and Social Network modeling, too.
This seminar is an introduction to NetLogo. During the seminar, we will cover all of the basics you need to get started programming as well as tips on where to find more help and information. We will go over the basic components of NetLogo, the format for a NetLogo program, how to set up and conduct experiments, and how to import and export files. We will also go over the model library and userâ??s manual, both of which are priceless tools even for the experienced NetLogo programmer. We will talk a little about different versions of NetLogo. Finally, we will briefly discuss other extensions and advanced features of NetLogo; however, we will not cover them in any great depth.
This seminar is for those who are completely new to NetLogo or who have only built a couple of programs. Other more experienced students, although welcome to attend, will not likely benefit much from this seminar but may appreciate the refresher. During the seminar, I will collect the email addresses of attendees, in order to send out soft copies of the slides used in the presentation. We will look mostly at models from the model library so you â?? armed with the slides from our discussion â?? can explore the models on your own time. I will also show you one or two of the more sophisticated models that I have built in the past, so you get a feel for what is possible in NetLogo, and email the models (with code) to you after the seminar.