Alexander "Sasha" Gutfraind
Master's from Applied Math UWaterloo, PhD from Cornell
Lecturer - Loyola University Medical Center
Adjunct R. A. Professor - U of Illinois at Chicago
Chief Health Data Scientist, Uptake Technologies
Math on the frontlines : applications of complex systems methods in conflict research
The past 15 years have been characterized by monumental conflicts including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the insurgencies in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the recent war with the Islamic State. Simultaneously, complex system methods and data opened an unprecedented window into conflicts, and enabled new research into their causes and dynamics. In this talk I will, first, discuss simple models applying dynamical system theory to studying terrorist organizations. I will then introduce a model of insurgencies and apply it to the Syrian civil war. Finally, I will cover recent work on the Islamic State (IS) network in Europe, comparing it to networks from past conflicts, such as Al-Qaida's. I will argue that future research of conflicts could greatly benefit from mathematical and computational methods, especially when informed by some of the large datasets now coming from conflict zones.