Professor Les Gasser has been selected as a 2016-2017 National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) Faculty Fellow. NCSA's competitive fellowship program is designed to cultivate collaborations among faculty and researchers across the Urbana campus and with NCSA. The program provides seed funding for demonstration projects, workshops, or other activities with the capacity for further collaboration around research, development, and education, with a focus on initiatives that may lead to use of extreme-scale cyberinfrastructure.
Gasser's project, "Simulating Social Systems at Scale," will demonstrate new approaches to building very large computer models of social phenomena such as social change, the emergence of organizations, or the evolution of language and information. The project also explores new ways of connecting "live" social data to running simulations, and new ways of visualizing social processes.
From the project proposal: This project's motivating vision...is to position NCSA and Illinois as a major center for effective, efficient, accessible, large-scale simulations of social systems. This capability will be developed incrementally, with a series of projects focused on proofs-of-concept, capability-development, and building of interest and commitment. We will scale the effort to larger and more integrative projects over time.
The project involves faculty, students, and staff from several Illinois units, including GSLIS; Illinois Informatics Institute; Institute for Computing in Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences; and NCSA. External collaborators will participate from Sandia National Laboratories, the Network Dynamics and Simulation Science Laboratory at Virginia Tech, and the Institut de Recherche pour le Développement's UMMISCO Lab in Hanoi, Vietnam.
Gasser is a professor in GSLIS, with a joint appointment in the Department of Computer Science and faculty affiliate appointments in the Computational Science and Engineering program and the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also holds a faculty appointment in the Institute for Software Research at the University of California, Irvine.
Gasser holds a BA in English literature from the University of Massachusetts, and MS and PhD degrees in information and computer science from the University of California, Irvine. He has published over seventy technical papers and five books on the topics of social informatics and multi-agent systems.