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Research Team

kennedy Dr. William G. Kennedy, Principal Investigator (PI) for the project, has been a Research Assistant Professor at George Mason University since the fall of 2008. Previous to that, he completed full careers in the U.S. Navy (30 years in submarines and the Naval Reserves), in the federal civil service (Nuclear Regulatory Commission, 10 yrs), and the Department of Energy (15 yrs). He earned his Ph.D. in Information Technology (Artificial Intelligence) in 2003 and retired from civil service in 2005. He then did a 3-year post-doc at the Naval Research Laboratory in cognitive robotics, which focused his research interests on Cognitive Science. His current research is in modeling individuals’ cognitive processes and human behavior in agent-based models of societies. He also teaches for the Computational Social Science program and the Department of Psychology at GMU. You can visit his Web site here.

Contact Information
Center for Social Complexity, Research 371
Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, Room 118
Phone: 703-993-9291
E-mail: wkennedy@gmu.edu

crooks Dr. Andrew Crooks, co-Principal Investigator, is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Department of Computational Data Science and the Department of Geography and GeoInformation Science. Along with being a researcher in the Center for Social Complexity at George Mason University, Andrew teaches a variety of courses in computational social science, urban systems, GIS and agent-based modeling. His research interests relate to exploring, understanding and the communication of the physical and socio-economic environments using GIS, spatial analysis, geovisualization, agent-based modeling and social network analysis methodologies. These research interests have resulted in several publications. Visit his Web page to find out more..

Contact Information
Department of Computational Data Science
379 Research Hall,MS 6B2
George Mason University
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-4640
Fax: 703) 993-9290
Email: acrooks2@gmu.edu

ozAnnetta Burger is one of the graduate research assistants on the project team. Annetta is currently working on a Computational Social Science PhD in the Computational and Data Sciences Department. Her research interests are focused on how social networks impact cultural norms, behavior and cognition and how social networks are used for collective action. For her dissertation she is developing an agent-based model of social networks to study the ability of communities to rebuild their social networks and recover resources in the context of flooding. The model will be used to test how variations in flooding, urban density, displacement, population characteristics and social network forms impact disaster recovery. Previously, she supported research programs in the areas of training, decision-making and basic social science at the Office of Naval Research. She holds a Masters degree in Business Administration from the University of Maryland, University College, and a Bachelors in International Relations from the University of Virginia.

ozTalha Oz is also a graduate research assistant on the project team. Talha is a doctoral candidate in the computational social science program at George Mason University (GMU). He has completed his coursework, passed the comprehensive exams, and successfully defended his Ph.D. proposal. His dissertation, Collective Stress in the Digital Age, uses quantitative and computational methods to examine social responses to stressful events; these methods include data mining, machine learning, social network analysis, agent-based modeling, and quasi-experimental designs for hypothesis testing on observational behavioral data collected unobtrusively from social media. For this project, using U.S. Census demographic profile data Talha has created a synthetic population, behaviors of which will be modeled during and immediately following a nuclear attack.

ozXiaoyi Yuan is another graduate research assistant on the project team. Xiaoyi is a doctoral student in the computational social science program at George Mason University. She holds a masters degree in communication, culture, and technology from Georgetown University, where she studied patterns of online communication and opinion flow. She has completed her course work and is currently working toward defending her doctoral dissertation proposal. Her research involves using data mining, machine learning, and natural language processing to label large amounts of social media opinion (e.g., support or opposition), and apply such data to its original social networks. The research aims to inform agent-based models, specifically “opinion dynamics models,” with massive empirical data and provide validation and further insights for this area of study. For the WMD project, she applies her skills to other data sources, including U.S. census demographic data, to create synthetic populations for modeling social reactions to nuclear attacks in Manhattan, NYC.

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