Our people are leaders in the fields of human genetics, sociology, mathematics, history, evolutionary biology, English literature and psychology, from the nations most prestigous institutions. About a third come from a computational modeling background who are interested in identifying and modeling knowledge generation and transmission processes. The remaining two thirds take the long view of science and scholarship and bring their expertise into meaningful conversations and research on topics that are of interest to them and to the Lab as a whole.
In the Limelight
Assistant Professor, Information School, University of Washington
I am an assistant professor in the Information School at the University of Washington. We like maps and information. The research I do aims to map large networks in order to understand the flow of information. I co-founded Eigenfactor.org. This research project aims to rank and map science, in hopes of building better tools for navigating the ever expanding scholarly literature.
I have been lucky in my research journal so far. I have had the best graduate and post-doctoral mentors a graduate. I have worked in departments and universities that encourage the type of interdisciplinary work I enjoy doing, and I have pursued questions that keep me thinking inside and outside the lab.
I grew up in the small town of Ammon, Idaho. It doesn’t house any great scientists, but it does offer close proximity to skiing and the outdoors—something I enjoy very much. I attended Utah Sate University, originally to play tennis and to enjoy some of the best snow on earth. After finishing a bachelor’s degree in biology, I took a two year tennis-pro hiatus and traveled. I returned to USU and completed a Masters degree with Keith Mott and David Peak. The research I did with them explored a topic at the cross section of physics, biology and computer science. I looked at how stomatal networks on the surface of a leaf perform a distributed computation. This work hooked my interests to the field of complexity—an area of science that is ambiguous, messy and full of questions that will take generations to sort out.
In the fall of 2004, I visited the University of Washington and met with Carl Bergstrom in the Department of Biology. After a three-day conversation in three hours about the role of information in biology, I knew I had found the right place. During my PhD, I was introduced to citation networks as a model system for studying information flow in social and biological systems. It is also ignited my passion for improving scholarly communication and led to the Eigenfactor Project. The project continues to grow and now includes research in mapping, information visualization, gender research, economics of scholarly publishing, and recommendation For my post-doc, I was fortunate to continue working in the area of networks and mapping while working with Martin Rosvall at Umea University (Sweden).
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.