International Relations, Modeling, National Security, Science

IIASA Workshop on Systemic Risk

I’ve just participated in a two day workshop in Vienna hosted by the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA) called Security in the age of Systemic Risk: Tactics and Options for Dealing with Femtorisks and Beyond. This intimidating title masked the openness and interdisciplinary character of the workshop, which brought together a variety of scholars and practitioners working in the areas of complexity science, risk analysis, decision sciences, mathematics, and international relations, continuing the conceptual and community development that started in 2008 at the Santa Fe Institute looking at complexity and international relations.

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International Relations, Modeling, National Security

Rock-Paper-Scissors and Arms Races Part 1

I have always been fascinated by military innovation and they ways in which individuals and organizations perceive and adapt to threats and opportunities in their environments. One of the important lessons from game theory, biology, and military history is the fragility of dominant positions – there is rarely a dominant strategy that trumps all possible options available to one’s adversaries.

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Modeling, Science

Philosophy of Science, Models, and Policy

I got into modeling and simulation after being trained in strategic studies and intelligence analysis. When I was first exposed to Agent-Based Modeling, I recognized it as an opportunity to extrapolate from the particular features of individual case studies, allow for the rerunning of history or make comparisons between alternative competing historical accounts.

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Analysis, International Relations, Modeling, Science

Early Observations from ISA 2011

After two days at the International Studies Association Annual Conference (ISA) in Montreal, several interesting themes have emerged. Rather than mention panel by panel what I’ve seen, I figured I’d summarize my general impressions and provide some highlights at the mid-point of the conference. I’ll caveat everything by noting that the conference is a huge gathering and any attendee can only see a small portion of the total offerings. So, my observations are necessarily constrained by my choices of panels and side-discussions – I could easily have missed something.

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