University of Vermont

TEDxUVM

2011 Theme

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Big Data, Big Stories

In the last few hundred years we have discovered the many hidden components of natural complex systems — atoms, microbes, DNA — as well as described better those complex elements in plain sight such as animals and people. And in more recent decades, new forms of complexity have quickly arisen due to the interconnectedness of computers, power stations, economies, and human organizations at all scales, with the consequent boons — easy access to data, collaborative online innovation — and banes — large-scale blackouts, financial collapses. The time frame of 1700 to 2000 may well be looked upon as the golden age of reductionism, a crucial period in the history of science that has led us to the necessity of understanding and creating complex systems.

We are framing this inaugural meeting around Big Data. Many sciences have been transformed as they've moved from being relatively data-scarce to almost overwhelmingly data-rich: biology, astronomy, medicine and, more and more, the social sciences. Witness the explosion of work and interest in complex networks over the last decade, as well as large-scale astronomy surveys, studies of financial systems, and the Google Books project leading to Culturomics.

Join us for this exciting TEDx and hear from speakers who are discovering the stories that emerge from the ever-growing data we collect.

Complex Systems at UVM

Complex Systems is an emerging strength at the University of Vermont, one where the institution has already begun to assert leadership. Below please find out more about the Steering Committee members who are mapping the future of Complex Systems at UVM.

  • Peter Dodds Peter Dodds (Chair)
    Peter Dodds is a scientist in the Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics working on large-scale, system-level problems in many fields including sociology, geomorphology, biology, and ecology. For more information, please see his website.
  • Joshua Bongard Joshua Bongard (Vice Chair)
    Josh Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science. For more information, please see his website.
  • Jason Bates Jason Bates
    Jason Bates is a professor in the Departments of Medicine and Molecular Physiology and Biophysics in the College of Medicine. As a bioengineer, his research focuses primarily on the mechanics of lung function. He also engineers new technologies to address lung diseases and much of his work centers on the measurement and modeling of lung function. His research work has led to three patents and he has been involved with the establishment of two Canadian companies.
  • Chris Danforth Chris Danforth
    Chris Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter. He also helps run UVM's reading group on complexity. For more information, please see his website.
  • Christopher Koliba Christopher Koliba
    Christopher Koliba is the Director of the Master of Public Administration Program and an Associate Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics Dept. He applies complex systems modeling to the study of governance networks in the areas of transportation planning, watershed governance, utility regulation, and food systems planning. He is also the present chair of the Complexity and Network Studies Section of the American Society of Public Administration.
  • David Novak David Novak
    David Novak is a faculty member in the School of Business Administration and is affiliated with the UVM Transportation Research Center (TRC). He is interested in combining different modeling approaches and concepts to address problems from unique perspectives, and is particularly interested in relationships between operations research, spatial geography, and policy / planning. For more information, please see his UVM webpage.
  • Brian Tivnan Brian Tivnan
    Brian Tivnan, a UVM Complex Systems Center affiliate, is the Burlington site leader and chief engineer in the Modeling & Simulation Department for the MITRE Corporation, a not-for-profit organization that manages federally funded research and development centers, partnering with government sponsors to support their crucial operational missions. His current research interests include the study of conflict and quantitative finance.
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