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.

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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.

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Modeling, National Security, Seminars

Computational Social Science Seminar Posted

Last Friday I gave a presentation on the challenges of strategic intelligence, and how Agent-Based Modeling fits within and can improve current analytic tradecraft. The slides have now been added to the website, and can be found on the Papers and Presentations page. The slides are somewhat sparse and are mostly talking points. There is a layer in the file that contains speakers notes that contain more information and bibliographic credit where graphics, quotes, and images were taken from other sources. Likewise, the abstract for the presentation can be seen on the Department of Computational Social Science website here.

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Analysis, National Security

Comments on Richard Danzig’s Driving in the Dark

Last month the Center for New American Security (CNAS) published an excellent report by Richard Danzig called Driving in the Dark: Ten Propositions About Prediction and National Security. While much of what has been said in this report has been discussed elsewhere, I believe that this report provides one of the most coherent, complete, and compact discussions regarding how to cope with inevitable failures of prediction in national security policy. This posting discusses three interesting points that Danzig makes in the first half of his report. A follow-up posting will continue by examining the second half of the report.

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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.

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