Friday, December 29, 2017

Models from Teaching CSS

Most of the time when I teach a class instead of setting a final exam, I ask the students to carryout an end of semester research project. In my Introduction to Computational Social Science classes (both at the graduate and undergraduate level), this project entails the development of a computational model in an area of  interest to the student (or at the undergraduate level, students can opt to systematically explore someone else's model). The aim of this exercise is to cement what the students have (hopefully) learnt during the semester. I.e.:
  • to understand the motivation for the use of computational models in social science theory and research;
  • to learn about the variety of CSS research programs across the social science disciplines;
  • to understand the distinct contribution that CSS can make by providing specific insights about society, social phenomena at multiple scales, and the nature of social complexity.
Below you can see some of the outputs from these projects this last fall. The models range in type from agent-based models, cellular automata models to discrete event simulations (aka. queuing models) applied to a variety of topics from elephant poaching, artists and patrons, inheritance and wealth accumulation, the spread of religion, to that of looking at serving times at a Chipotle Mexican Grill.



 

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Come Work with Us: 2 Postdocs in Urban Simulation

The George Mason University Department of Geography and Geoinformation Science within the College of Science, has an immediate opening for two postdoctoral fellows (up to 2-years), subject to budgetary approval. These positions will be part of the “Urban simulation” project team conducting research as part of the DARPA’s “Ground Truth” program, a network of DARPA-funded teams across the USA. The GMU team is directed by Andreas Z├╝fle, Dieter Pfoser, and Andrew Crooks and supported by Carola Wenk at Tulane University. George Mason University has a strong institutional commitment to the achievement of excellence and diversity among its faculty and staff, and strongly encourages candidates to apply who will enrich Mason’s academic and culturally inclusive environment.

Postdoc 1

Responsibilities:
The primary job responsibilities of this position consist of the design, development and refinement of an agent-based simulation framework for urban areas. Using the existing Multiagent Simulation Toolkit (MASON) platform (written in Java), new agent logic will have to be implemented, thus creating agents that use socially plausible rules for mobility and interaction with other agents. A main goal is to create computationally efficient agent logic, thus allowing millions of agents to make decisions, find shortest paths between locations, and interact with their simulated world at the same time. For this purpose, implemented algorithms will need to be highly parallelizable, thus allowing to scale simulation via distribution among computing clusters located at GMU and Tulane. The successful candidate will also supervise graduate-level research assistants, collaborate with fellow scholars, and promote the department’s accomplishments through publications, presentations, and other public events.

Required Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or closely related field;
  • Strong programming skills in Java;
  • Excellent written communication skills demonstrated by prior publications;
  • A track record that demonstrates the ability to work well with interdisciplinary research teams.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Solid knowledge of graph algorithms;
  • Experience with Agent-Based Modeling and social science simulation;
  • Experience in design and implementation of software systems.

Postdoc 2

Responsibilities:
The primary job responsibilities of this position will be the design of an agent-based model based on the first principles underlying human needs, social interactions, and mobility to define socially plausible causalities. This model will contribute towards the design, development and refinement of an agent-based simulation framework for urban areas. Using the existing Multiagent Simulation Toolkit (MASON) platform (written in Java), new agent logic will have to be implemented, thus creating agents that use socially plausible rules for mobility and interaction with other agents. The successful candidate will also supervise graduate-level research assistants, collaborate with fellow scholars, and promote the department’s accomplishments through publications, presentations, and other public events.

Required Qualifications:
  • Ph.D. in computer science, data science, or closely related field; 
  • Experience with Agent-Based Modeling and social science simulation; 
  • Excellent written communication skills demonstrated by prior publications; 
  • A track record that demonstrates the ability to work well with interdisciplinary research teams.

Preferred Qualifications:
  • Strong programming skills in Java;
More Information: https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/42109

Monday, December 11, 2017

Come work with us

The  Department of Computational and Data Sciences is currently looking for 2 Assistant Professors starting in the Fall of 2018.

Assistant Professor, Statistics and Visualization (Tenure-Track)

Required Qualifications:
Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in a closely related field from an accredited institution, and should have research interests congruent with the associated research centers listed below. Applicants should have a promising research record with a deep knowledge of and interest in computation as applied to statistical analysis and visualization, with a strong emphasis in one or more of the following fields: machine learning, Bayesian inference, and knowledge mining. Candidates should have a demonstrated ability or strong potential to attract funding and provide strong contributions to the continued growth of the academic programs.

More Information: https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/41997


Assistant Professor, Data Science (Tenure-Track )

Required Qualifications:
Applicants must hold a Ph.D. in data science from an accredited institution or an aptly related field such as computer science, computational science, a physical science, etc., and should have research interests congruent with the associated research centers listed below. Candidates should have a demonstrated ability or strong potential to attract funding and provide strong contributions to the continued growth of the academic programs. Applicants should have a promising research record and a demonstrated deep knowledge in the expanding field of data science, with a strong emphasis in one or more of the following fields: data mining, knowledge mining, big data analytics, data engineering, and image analysis.

More Information: https://jobs.gmu.edu/postings/42005

About the Department: CDS is a rapidly growing department offering an undergraduate degree in Computational and Data Sciences and graduate programs in CSI (Computational Sciences and Informatics) and CSS (Computational Social Science). Interdisciplinary research directions are in modeling, simulation, data science, and computational social science. The successful candidate will benefit from a highly collaborative research environment that supports a wide array of shared facilities and dynamic research centers, such as the DataLab, the university-wide Center for Social Complexity, and the Department’s Center for Simulation and Modeling.