Conference Inaugurates New Center for Social Complexity

Posted: May 6, 2003 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

The new Center for Social Complexity (CSC) holds its inaugural conference, “The Emerging Computational Social Sciences: Connecting Theory, Models, and Data,” May 23-24 in the Johnson Center.

John Holland, professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan, is the keynote speaker. A leading expert on cognition and artificial intelligence, Holland studies complex adaptive systems-constantly evolving, changing, and interacting mechanisms that control everything from how people learn to how advanced computers process information. President Alan Merten will introduce Holland at the conference.

Kevin McCabe, professor of economics and law at George Mason, who is affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Center for Economic Science, the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, and the Mercatus Center, is one of the featured speakers. Other speakers include Peter Allen, Cranfield University; Robert Axtel, Brookings Institution and Santa Fe Institute; Brian Berry, University of Texas at Dallas; David Sallach, University of Chicago, and Peyton Young, Johns Hopkins University.

In addition, Sean Luke, George Mason assistant professor of computer science, will present a poster session.

Christopher Hill, vice provost for research, Menas Kafatos, dean of the School of Computational Sciences, James Olds, director of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, and Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, director of CSC, will chair the various sessions.

Holland and the other speakers will address the dynamics of social complexity and explore what has been learned about social phenomena from computational modeling approaches, how to distinguish modeling effects from the social phenomena under study, and the distinctive challenges to computational methods that social phenomena present.

George Mason’s multidisciplinary Center for Social Complexity, which was established last fall, focuses on the relatively new and growing field of computational social science (CSS), the scientific investigation of social phenomena using computer models, algorithms, and related information technology methods.

For more information on the conference or the Center for Social Complexity, call (703) 993-1402.

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