Dr. William G. Kennedy, “Bill,” is continuing to learn in a third career, this time as an academic, a computational social scientist.
His first a career was in military service as a Naval Officer, starting with the Naval Academy, Naval PostGraduate School (as the first computer science student from the Naval Academy), and serving during the Cold War as part of the successful submarine-based nuclear deterrent. After six years of active duty service, he served over two decades in the Naval Reserves commanding three submarine and submarine-related reserve units and retiring after 30 years as a Navy Captain with several personal honors and awards.
His second career was in civilian public service: 10 years at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and 15 years with the Department of Energy. At the NRC he rose to be an advisor to the Executive Director for Operations and the authority on issues concerning the reliance on human operators for reactor safety, participating in two fly-away accident response teams. He left the NRC for a promotion and to lead, as technical director, the entrepreneurial effort to explore the use of light-water and accelerator technologies for the production of nuclear weapons materials. That work led to him becoming the senior policy officer responsible for strategic planning and Departmental performance commitments, leading development of the first several DOE strategic plans and formal performance agreements between the Secretary of Energy and the President.
Upon completion of doctoral research in Artificial Intelligence outside of his DOE work, he began his third career as a scientist. That started with a fully funded, three-year post-doctoral research position in cognitive robotics at the Naval Research Laboratory sponsored by the National Academy of Science and expanding his AI background with research in experimental Cognitive Science. Upon completion, he joined the Center for Social Complexity, part of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study at George Mason University in 2008 where he is now the Senior Scientific Advisor. His research interests range from cognition at the individual level to models of millions of agents representing individual people. He is currently leading a multi-year project to characterize the reaction of the population of a mega-city to a nuclear WMD (weapon of mass destruction) event.
Dr. Kennedy holds a B.S. in mathematics from the U.S. Naval Academy, and Master of Science in Computer Science from the Naval PostGraduate School, and a Ph.D. in Information Technology from George Mason University and has a current security clearance. Dr. Kennedy is a member of Sigma Xi, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM), and a life member of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He is a STEM volunteer with the Senior Scientists and Engineers/AAAS Volunteer Program for K-12 science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education in the DC-area schools.
Cognitive Science, Computational Social Science, Social Cognition, Autonomy, Cognitive Robotics
My research aims to explore the potential of network science for the archaeological discipline. In my review work I confront the use of network-based methods in the archaeological discipline with their use in other disciplines, especially sociology and physics. In my archaeological work I aim to develop and apply network science techniques that show particular potential for archaeology. This is done through a number of archaeological case-studies: archaeological citation networks, visibility networks in Iron Age and Roman southern Spain, and tableware distribution in the Roman Eastern Mediterranean.
With my research, I aim to improve scientific understanding of the role interactions among cognitive, behavioral, social, and demographic processes play in human adaptation to social-ecological change. Currently, I hold a Postdoctoral Research Fellow position at University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability and an Instructor position at Portland State University’s Systems Science Program. I have a Ph.D. in Systems Science (2018) from Portland State University, and an M.A. in Economics (2007) and a B.S. in Management (1999) from Boston University.
Cognitive Social Science, Social-Ecological Systems, Multi-Agent Modeling, Complex Adaptive Systems
Aniruddha Belsare is a disease ecologist with a background in veterinary medicine, interspecific transmission, pathogen modeling and conservation research. Aniruddha received his Ph.D. in Wildlife Science (Focus: Disease Ecology) from the University of Missouri in 2013 and subsequently completed a postdoctoral fellowship there (University of Missouri, May 2014 – June 2017). He then was a postdoctoral fellow in the Center for Modeling Complex Interactions at the University of Idaho (June 2017 - March 2019). Currently he is a Research Associate with the Boone and Crockett Quantitative Wildlife Center, Michigan State University.
My research interests primarily lie at the interface of ecology and epidemiology, and include host-pathogen systems that are of public health or conservation concern. I use ecologic, epidemiologic and model-based investigations to understand how pathogens spread through, persist in, and impact host populations. Animal disease systems that I am currently working on include canine rabies, leptospirosis, chronic wasting disease, big horn sheep pneumonia, raccoon roundworm (Baylisascaris procyonis), and Lyme disease.
My core research interest is to understand how humans and other living creature perceive and behave; respond and act upon their environment and how this dynamic interplay shapes us into who we are. In recognition of the broad scope of this question I am a strong believer in the need for inter- and multi-disciplinary approaches and have worked at research groups in a wide range of departments and institutions, including university departments of Physics as well as Psychology, a bio-medical research lab, a robotics research laboratory and most recently the RIKEN Brain Science Institute. Though my work has primarily taken the form of computational neuroscience I have also performed psychophysical experiments with healthy human subjects, been involved in neural imaging experiments and contributed towards the development of a humanoid robot.
Based on the philosophy of ‘understanding through creating’ I believe that bio-mimetic and biologically inspired computational and robotic engineering can teach us not only how to build more flexible and robust tools but also how actual living creatures deal with their environment. I am therefore a strong believer in the fertile information exchange between scientific as well as engineering research disciplines.
Community assembly after intervention by coral transplantation
The potential of transplantation of scleractinian corals in restoring degraded reefs has been widely recognized. Levels of success of coral transplantation have been highly variable due to variable environmental conditions and interactions with other reef organisms. The community structure of the area being restored is an emergent outcome of the interaction of its components as well as of processes at the local level. Understanding the
coral reef as a complex adaptive system is essential in understanding how patterns emerge from processes at local scales. Data from a coral transplantation experiment will be used to develop an individual-based model of coral community development. The objectives of the model are to develop an understanding of assembly rules, predict trajectories and discover unknown properties in the development of coral reef communities in the context of reef restoration. Simulation experiments will be conducted to derive insights on community trajectories under different disturbance regimes as well as initial transplantation configurations. The model may also serve as a decision-support tool for reef restoration.
Dr. Lilian Alessa, University of Idaho President’s Professor of Resilient Landscapes in the Landscape Architecture program, is also Co-Director of the University of Idaho Center for Resilient Communities. She conducts extensive research on human adaptation to environmental change through resilient design at landscape scales. Much of her work is funded by the National Science Foundation, including projects awarded the Arctic Observing Network, Intersections of Food, Energy and Water Systems (INFEWS) and the Dynamics of Coupled Natural Human Systems programs. Canadian-born and raised, Alessa received her degrees from the University of British Columbia. She also uses her expertise in social-ecological and technological systems science to develop ways to improve domestic resource security for community well-being, particularly through the incorporation of place-based knowledge. Her work through the Department of Homeland Security’s Center of Excellence, the Arctic Domain Awareness Center, involves developing social-technological methods to monitor and respond to critical environmental changes. Lil is a member of the National Science Foundation’s Advisory Committee for Environmental Research and Education and is on the Science, Technology and Education Advisory Committee for the National Ecological Observing Network (NEON). Professor Alessa also teaches a university landscape architecture capstone course: Resilient Landscapes with Professor Andrew Kliskey. Professor Alessa’s collaborative grant activity with Professor Andrew Kliskey, since coming to the university in 2013, exceeds 7 million USD to date. She has authored over a 100 publications and reports and has led the development of 2 federal climate resilience toolbox assessments, the Arctic Water Resources Vulnerability Index (AWRVI) and the Arctic Adaptation Exchange Portal (AAEP).