MASON

This time not referring to the University, but rather to our own homegrown and widely used java-based simulator for agent based modeling. You can find it here. The link has great simulation demonstrations that you can watch in your browser.

What does MASON stand for as an acronym?

From the web site:
” Multi-Agent Simulator ONeighborhoods… or Networks… or something… “



The Larval Stage of Institutional Development

Krasnow’s larval stage was as a stand-alone institute constituted as a non-profit. It operated out of rental class-B commercial space in downtown Fairfax and had several employees (two of whom are still with us!). The Institute for Advanced Study had grand plans though–even at that time (nearly two decades ago), and moves were afoot for a meeting to be co-sponsored with the Santa Fe Institute which would focus our scientific program towards the intersection of neurobiology, cognitive psychology and computer sciences. There were also plans and money for a dedicated facility (albeit more like a think tank than a place with laboratories), and a seminar series was commenced that also, continues to this day. The initial aspirational models for the Institute were places like the Santa Fe Institute and to a lesser extent Cold Spring Harbor Lab, and Woods Hole. The notion is that we would always be stand-alone and that in a decade or so, there would be bricks and mortar, a powerful governance board that would provide the resources for an endowment and a cadre of scientists who would be principally identified as investigators rather than as academic faculty members.

The larval stage ended in 2002 with the merger with George Mason and the metamorphosis into the mature Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study as a full academic unit of the University. And yet, there are elements of the larval DNA that still remain: one of which is a commitment to the elite post-graduate educational programs offered by our early aspirational peers. While we have buttered our bread over the years since the merger with the development of doctoral programs in neuroscience and computational social sciences, this early notion of running summer short courses remains. The location of course is dramatic and special (the Institute is only 12 miles from the US Capitol Building). We now have superb conference and hotel facilities. And there is a critical mass of both faculty and related content/research that might be offered.

So we’re reactivating that latent part of Krasnow’s genome, left over from our larval era. In the meantime, we enjoy the massive advantages that come from being a part of a large, healthy public research university.

Summer Short Courses

Next summer (2011) we have some major academic plans on the table. We’re going to be offering summer short courses at the Fairfax Campus of George Mason. The topics are still in flux, but they will bring top-flight faculty from around the world to Mason’s brand new Hotel and Conference Center, the Mason Inn. Generally we’ll be teaching week long short courses in our areas of expertise: social complexity, neuroethics and policy, and possibly agent based modeling. The courses will leverage the newly expanded Institute Facility (by next summer we’ll be around 60,000 square feet) and the University’s close proximity to the Nation’s capital. Stay tuned!

Congrats to Claudio Cioffi and his Center for Social Complexity

Having just won a hard-fought competition for a coveted MURI (Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative) award from the Department of Defense.

Quoting from DOD:


MURI is a program designed to address large multidisciplinary topic areas representing exceptional opportunities for future DoD applications and technology options. The awards will provide long-term support for research, graduate students and laboratory instrumentation development that supports specific science and engineering research themes vital to national defense.