Metaknowledge Network Leadership

Board of Directors

James A. Evans

Director, Knowledge Lab; Professor, Sociology, University of Chicago; Senior Fellow, Computation Institute; Faculty Director, Masters Program in Computational Social Sciences

I am Director of Knowledge Lab, Director of the Computational Social Science program, Senior Fellow at the Computation Institute, professor of Sociology and the College, and member of the Committee on Conceptual and Historical Studies of Science at the University of Chicago. My research focuses on the collective system of thinking and knowing, ranging from the distribution of attention and intuition, the origin of ideas and shared habits of reasoning to processes of agreement (and dispute), accumulation of certainty (and doubt), and the texture--novelty, ambiguity, topology--of human understanding. I am especially interested in innovation--how new ideas and technologies emerge--and the role that social and technical institutions (e.g., the Internet, markets, collaborations) play in collective cognition and discovery. Much of my work has focused on areas of modern science and technology, but I am also interested in other domains of knowledge--news, law, religion, gossip, hunches and historical modes of thinking and knowing. I support the creation of novel observatories for human understanding and action through crowd sourcing, information extraction from text and images, and the use of distributed sensors (e.g., RFID tags, cell phones). I use machine learning, generative modeling, social and semantic network representations to explore knowledge processes, scale up interpretive and field-methods, and create alternatives to current discovery regimes. My research is funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, DARPA, Facebook, IBM, Jump! Trading and other sources, and has been published in Science, PNAS, American Journal of Sociology, American Sociological Review, Social Studies of Science, Administrative Science Quarterly, PLoS Computational Biology and other journals. My work has been featured in Nature, the Economist, Atlantic Monthly, Wired, NPR, BBC, El País, CNN and many other outlets.
At Chicago, I sponsor the Computational Social Science workshop (with John Padgett). I teach courses in on augmented intelligence, computational content analysis, the history of modern science, science studies, and Internet and Society. Before Chicago, I received my doctorate in sociology from Stanford University, served as a research associate in the Negotiation, Organizations, and Markets group at Harvard Business School, started a private high school focused on project-based arts education, and completed a B. A. in Anthropology and Economics at Brigham Young University. In the course of these events, I married Jeannie Evans and we now have four (fabulous) children, Noah, Ruth, Anna and Kate.
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Jacob G. Foster

Assistant Professor, Sociology, UCLA

I was originally trained as a statistical physicist. Like many physicists, I was drawn to the study of complex systems because it licensed me (after a fashion) to work on all sorts of systems that physicists aren’t “supposed” to—complex networks, evolutionary dynamics, etc. As a graduate student (in physics), I took a spectacular seminar on classical social theory (Marx, Weber, Durkheim, Parsons, Merton, Elias, etc.).

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Luís Amaral

Professor, Chemical and Biological Engineering Professor, Medicine; HHMI Early Career Scientist, Northwestern University

Professor Amaral, a native of Portugal, conducts and directs research that provides insight into the emergence, evolution, and stability of complex social and biological systems. His research aims to address some of the most pressing challenges facing human societies and the world’s ecosystems, including the mitigation of errors in healthcare settings, the characterization of the conditions fostering innovation and creativity, or the growth limits imposed by sustainability.

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David Blei

Professor, Statistics and Computer Science, Columbia University

I am a professor of Statistics and Computer Science at Columbia University. I am also a member of the Institute for Data Sciences and Engineering. I work in the fields of machine learning and Bayesian statistics.

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Ian Foster

Director, Computation Institute; Senior Scientist, Mathematics and Computer Science (MCS) at Argonne National Laboratory; Executive Advisory Committee Member and Senior Fellow, Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology (IGSB); Professor, Computer Science, University of Chicago; Professor, Physical Sciences, University of Chicago; Distinguished Fellow, Argonne National Laboratory, University of Chicago

Ian Foster is Director of the Computation Institute, a joint institute of the University of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. He is also an Argonne Senior Scientist and Distinguished Fellow and the Arthur Holly Compton Distinguished Service Professor of Computer Science.

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John P. Ioannidis

C. F. Rehnborg Professor in Disease Prevention, Medicine; Professor, Health Research & Policy; Professor (By courtesy), Statistics, Stanford University

I have worked in the fields of evidence-based medicine, clinical investigation, clinical and molecular epidemiology, clinical research methodology, empirical research methods, statistics, and genomics. I have a strong interest in large-scale evidence (in particular randomized trials and meta-analyses) and in appraisal and control of diverse biases in biomedical research.

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David Krakauer

Director, Wisconsin Institute for Discovery; Co-Director, Center for Complexity and Collective Computation; Professor, Genetics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

A graduate of the University of London, where he went on to earn a master’s degree in computer science and mathematics, David Krakauer received his D.Phil. in evolutionary theory from Oxford University in 1995. He remained at Oxford as a postdoctoral research fellow and two years later was named a Wellcome Research Fellow in mathematical biology and lecturer at Pembroke College.

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Andrey Rzhetsky

Professor, Department of Medicine; Professor, Department of Human Genetics; Senior Fellow, Computation Institute; Senior Fellow, Institute for Genomics and Systems Biology, University of Chicago

My main interest is in gaining an (asymptotic) understanding how phenotypes, such as human healthy diversity and maladies, are implemented at the level of genes and networks of interacting molecules.

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