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CECAN Fellow: Brian Castellani

Fellowship: The COMPLEX-IT App: Linking Agent-Based and Case-Based Modeling for Ex-Post Evaluations and Counterfactual Analysis

Mentors: Pete Barbrook-JohnsonEmma UprichardNigel Gilbert

This fellowship responds to a CECAN call for proposals on the ‘Advanced Data Analysis for Policy Evaluation’. COMPLEX-IT (a free R-Studio App) improves the user-centeredness of computational modelling (CM) by opening-up its ‘black-box’ in two key ways: functionality and interface design. COMPLEX-IT’s functionality is unique because it runs a specific suite of techniques that support case-based data exploration, modeling and prediction. Second, COMPLEX-IT’s tab-driven interface provides users a seamless, simpler and visually intuitive platform. Also, advanced users can examine, download or modify COMPLEX-IT’s algorithms, results, and code. The challenge, however, is to develop the CBM-to-ABM functionality (including multiple timescales) and interface – that is, the ability of COMPLEX-IT to move users from the techniques of CBM to the techniques of ABM (specifically NetLogo) and back again – hence this fellowship.

Brian Castellani, Ph.D. is Professor of Sociology and Lead of the Complexity in Health and Infrastructure Group at Kent State University, as well as Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, Northeast Ohio Medical University, co-editor of the Routledge Complexity in Social Science series, and a member of the editorial board for International Journal of Social Research Methodology and Complexity, Governance and Networks.  Trained as a sociologist, clinical psychologist and methodologist (statistics and computational social science), Brian has spent the past ten years developing a new case-based data mining approach to modeling complex social systems – called the SACS Toolkit – which he and his colleagues have used to help practitioners and policy makers address and improve complex public health issues such as community health and well-being; infrastructure and grid reliability; aggression, violence and abuse; big data and data mining; and globalization and global civil society.  Brian has also recently developed the COMPLEX-IT APP.  In terms of publications, Brian has published widely in the areas of method.  For more information, including publications on case-based complexity, see Brian’s website at https://www.art-sciencefactory.com/briancastellani.html

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