Much of my life was in the computer field, developing computer software and hardware. That provided diverse opportunities, as the abstract methods of mathematical and computer modelling are quite general. Equations, eigenvalues, and algorithms are similar regardless of whether the object of inquiry is a whole ecosystem, a population of animals, an infection of viruses, or even the rise and fall of a nation’s economy or the advance and retreat of the planet's ice caps.
A guiding principle in my research is to do my part in learning to manage the earth's combined physical-biological-social dynamics for long-term habitability, both by humans and our fellow creatures. A major physical-biological concern is the earth's temperature, and I conduct bioenergy and climate research aimed at parts of that. A major biological-social concern is infectious disease, and parts of my modelling efforts are aimed at that. More generally, I am drawn not only to applications like these where computation is a tool for understanding biology, but also to applications like artificial neural networks where computation is the very paradigm for understanding.
Computer science and biology have proved to be a useful symbiotic combination.
- PhD University of Minnesota, 2000
- Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Education, College of Biological Sciences
- Adjunct Faculty, Department Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior
- Resident Fellow, Institute on the Environment
- Graduate Faculty, Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior; Conservation Biology
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