COMPUTATIONAL SOCIAL SCIENCE

Rob Axtell

Department Chair

Internal extension: 3-9302
Direct line: 703-993-9302
Email address: rax222 [at] gmu [dot] edu

Rob Axtell earned an interdisciplinary Ph.D. degree at Carnegie Mellon University, where he studied computing, social science, and public policy. His teaching and research involves computational and mathematical modeling of social and economic processes. Specifically, he works at the intersection of multi-agent systems computer science and the social sciences, building so-called agent-based models of a variety of market and non-market phenomena.

His research has been published in the leading scientific journals, including Science and the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, and reprised in Nature, and has appeared in top disciplinary journals (e.g., American Economic Review, Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory, Economic Journal), in general interest journals (e.g., PLOS One) and in specialty journals (e.g., Journal of Regulatory Economics, Technology Forecasting and Social Change.) His research has been supported by many of the great American philanthropic foundations (e.g., John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, Institute for New Economic Thinking) and several government organizations (e.g., National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, Small Business Administration, Office of Naval Research, Environmental Protection Agency). Stories about his research have appeared in major magazines (e.g., Economist, Atlantic Monthly, Scientific American, New Yorker, Discover, Wired, New Scientist, Technology Review, Forbes, Harvard Business Review, Science News, Chronicle of Higher Education, Byte, Le Temps Strategique) and newspapers (e.g., Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Detroit Free Press , Financial Times). He is co-author of Growing Artificial Societies: Social Science from the Bottom Up (MIT Press) with J.M. Epstein, widely cited as an example of how to apply modern computing to the analysis of social and economic phenomena.

For nearly 15 years he was Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, Foreign Policy Studies, and Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution (Washington, D.C.) where he helped found the Center on Social and Economic Dynamics (CSED) there. During this time he taught courses on his research as Mellon Distinguished Visiting Professor at Middlebury College (2004), Visiting Professor of Economics of the Graduate Faculty of Political and Social Science at the New School for Social Research (2003), Adjunct Professor of Computer Science at Georgetown University (2002) and Visiting Associate Professor of Economics at Johns Hopkins (1998-2000).

Upon moving to Mason in 2006 he helped found the Department of Computational Social Science in 2007, the first department of its kind in the world, and has served as Department Chair since 2008. During the 2013-14 academic year, he spent a sabbatical year as Visiting Professor in the Complexity Economics Programme at Oxford University's Mathematical Institute and Oxford Martin School, and visiting fellow of Hertford College. For many years he has been External Professor of the Santa Fe Institute in New Mexico. Most recently he has co-founded and is Co-Director of the Computational Pubic Policy Laboratory, a joint project of the Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study and the School of Policy, Government and International Affairs (SPGIA) at Mason.

Personal webpage (www.css.gmu.edu/~axtell)