Analysis, Conferences, International Relations, Modeling, National Security, Science

Observations on Quantitative Modeling in Defense and Intelligence Analysis

Over the last couple of weeks I had the opportunity to participate in a two conferences that focused on the role of formal modeling in intelligence and defense analysis. The preparation for these events kept me away from the blog, and I’m hoping to have a chance to write more as the majority of my time and attention return to my dissertation for the next several months.

Continue Reading
International Relations, Modeling, National Security, Science

Commemorating Desmond Saunders-Newton

Today, November 24th, marks the one year anniversary of the passing of Desmond Saunders-Newton, a dear friend and mentor who left this world far too soon. Dez, as he was known, possessed a unique combination of vision and ability to think big, and yet connect with people on the most human and personal of terms. He first introduced me to complexity theory, Agent-Based Modeling (ABM), and computation in general, creating the lens through which I see the international system through. I don’t fully know how to characterize my years of working with Dez, or the depth of the pain felt by his absence, but wanted to acknowledge his role in my life in some way on this Thanksgiving holiday.

Continue Reading
International Relations, Modeling

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 6

Previous posts had examined the replicator equation as the basis of agent behavior in an arms race defined by a game of rock-paper-scissors (RPS). This post begins a follow-on examination regarding the use of best-response as an alternative behavior or strategy on the part of competing agents. In some ways, best-response may be unrealistic with respect to how agents can adapt, especially if they are capable of making large jumps or changes to strategies in short-periods of time that are not reflective of real-world organizations. However, in other ways, the strategy is quite realistic for social actors because it affords them opportunities to revive dead or eliminated strategies when suitable while the biologically based replicator loses them forever once extinct.

Continue Reading
International Relations, Modeling

Some Quick Thoughts on Economics in International Relations Theory

The other day I was reviewing some of the older literature on international politics and relations. From the vantage point of a few of decades, the injection of economics into international relations and its influence is obvious. The major debates that largely pivoted around Ken Waltz’s neorealism and Robert Keohane’s neoliberalism essentially reflected alternative applications of models and methods imported from economics, perhaps most brilliantly exemplified by Keohane’s adaptation of Akerlof’s market for lemons in order to argue for the importance of institutions (or regimes as he defined them in After Hegemony).

Continue Reading