Alhaji Cherif

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Brief Bio

Hi everyone, I am a first year doctoral student in Applied Mathematics with Mathematical Biology focus (under Castillo-Chavez) at Arizona State University. I hold a BS in engineering from Cornell University and was trained in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics (under Strogatz), and Electrical Engineering (udner Belina) with minors/certification in Applied Mathematics (Rand), African Politics, African American Studies (Assie-Lumumba), Mechanical Engineering-unofficial (Phoenix). I spent most of my undergraduate years doing research in the above areas and in nanobiotechnology (NEMS/MEMS, microfluidcs, biosensors), composite materials, reliability theory. I have worked on a variety of research problems, including the development of micro-fluidic systems also known as lab-on-chips (biosensors and micropump, NEMS/MEMS); theoretical modeling of electrophoretic deposition of thin-films; mechanics of fibrous composites; and dynamic model of the flight of butterfly, socio-political dynamics of instability, political reliability theory. I have a short interest horizon and broad interests in interdisciplinary applied mathematics, specially when applied to physical, engineering, natural, biological and social sciences. As an engineer and a scientist who has straddle various scientific fields, I believe in the importance of real world problems as an inspiration for the development of mathematical theory, not for its own sake, but as a means to solving important practical problems and providing practical decision solutions. I hope to add Complexity Theory to my intellectual tool box and possibly use them in my research in a near future. I look forward to meeting you all in June and do not hesitate to email me at alhaji_dot_cherif_at_asu_dot_edu.


1. What are your main interests? Feel free to include a "pie in the sky" big idea!

I am generally interested in the application of dynamical system theory (deterministic, stochastic and crypto-deterministic) to interesting problems in a variety of fields (Engineering, social and biological sciences). In the area of mathematical epidemiology, I am interested in incorporating socio-behavorial dynamics into models. I am also interested in sociopolitical dynamics, political violence and aggression (civil wars, terrorism).

2. What sorts of expertise can you bring to the group?

As an engineer, mathematician and Africanist who has been exposed to various fields, I can bring some of the transferable skills I have learned over the years. I can contribute to the knowledge of dynamical systems, bifurcation theory, asymptotic and perturbation methods in Deterministic and Stochastic Differential Equations, Dynamical Programming and Control Theory, Mechanics and other engineering and applied mathematics skills, and most importantly modeling skills.

3. What do you hope to get out of the CSSS?

I hope to learn more about complex adaptive dynamical systems and to establish possible future collaborations with other students and SFI scholars.

4. Do you have any possible projects in mind for the CSSS?

I will like to continue on some of the projects I have recently been working on. Possible projects are: [1] dynamics of radicalization (terrorism) in prison, of Islamic diaspora; [2] coevolution of colonial and traditional institutions in Africa and its impact on current African political conundrums; [3] polity distributions; [4] mathematical modeling of Gangsterism or; [5] generalization of the 3 theories I developed in my undergraduate thesis: sociopolitical bundle and reliability, and socio-econo-demographic theories and their applications in economics, politics and state collapse; [6] and I am, of course, open to other ideas and/or modification of then above and other previous research questions I was interested in but never got around doing them.