Wednesday, May 31, 2017


It is always a great pleasure to teach and work with students, and see them complete their academic program. Over this last academic year, I supervised 3 masters students and served on the committee of another one, who all successfully completed their Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS) with a concentration in Computational Social Science (CSS). To quote from the MAIS in CSS website:
"Computational Social Science (CSS) is an interdisciplinary science in which social science questions are investigated with modern computational tools. Our program was the first CSS MA in the world, and continues to advance the study of social science through computational methods (e.g. agent-based modeling, social network analysis, and big data).

Our faculty members are internationally recognized for their pioneering work in CSS, including authoring the first textbook in the field, and have written numerous books and articles on topics such as growing artificial societies, modeling geographical systems, and sustainability. Research in the program is and has been funded by the National Science Foundation, United States Agency for International Development, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and NASA.

Besides taking introductory classes in theories and practices of social, geo-social, economic, and network modeling, you will have the opportunity to work one-on-one with faculty on your project or thesis of interest, as well as directed readings. Additionally, Mason’s proximity to the Washington, D.C., area provides an excellent opportunity to attend seminars offered by NGOs, visiting professors, and government employees.

Students range from recent college graduates to mid-career professionals who bring diverse knowledge that enhances the classroom experience. Graduates have gone on to pursue their doctorates at Mason and other Carnegie Classification Research 1 universities. Others have pursued or continued their career in government or the private sector, in organizations such as the U.S. Army, MapR Technologies, CACI, Logistics Management Institute, and Ninja Analytics, Inc.

To get the latest information on our program, visit us on Facebook or our program page."
Below is a selection of projects from this academic year. Eric Hansen project was entitled "An Agent-Based Model of British And Boer Small Arms and Tactics During the Second Anglo-Boer War" in which he explored different military technology had an impact on the military victories.

In another project, Paul Cummings  explored different strategies for combating radicalism (i.e. Security Risk model and Socio-Economic Hardship model) via an agent-based model under the title of "Modeling the Characteristics of Radical Ideological Growth using an Agent based Model Methodology"

Marta Hansen's final project was entitled "Positive Affect And Prospect Theory In Agent_Zero: A Model Extension" which extends Joshua Epstein’s Agent_Zero model to allow for cooperative events to take place.

Just to highlight that not all students opt for  agent-based models. Devin Bright undertook a project entitled "Mapping the Human Terrain of a Modern Megacity with the use of Social Media." In which he explored how a years worth of social media data can be mined and analyzed via GIS and social network analysis (SNA) to to give insights into the dynamics of New York City in the United States and Lagos in Nigeria.