Daniel Jones

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Daniel Jones

About Daniel

I'm a second-year PhD Computing candidate at Goldsmiths, University of London, under advisors Mark d'Inverno and Tim Blackwell.

My background resembles somewhat of a a random walk between disciplinary boundaries: though my predominant training is in computational methods, my undergrad was a BA in Philosophy with Computer Science, followed by an MA in Sonic Arts. The latter resulted in a practical investigation into the role that swarming behaviours can play within improvised music (see video), which threw me inexorably into the world of self-organisation and complexity.

Much of my non-academic work is documented on

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

My PhD focuses on the applications and implications of agent-based modelling, and its relationship with notions of creativity, innovation, discovery and process. The applied side of this is a collaboration with a team of clinical modellers from the DynaMo group, Univ. Leipzig, in the behaviours underlying the organisation of the human hematopoietic system. This poses questions as to how this cell compartment can display such robustness and flexibility in the face of trauma, maintaining its functional organisation without centralised control.

The pie-in-the-sky fantasy here would be some generalised method of quantifying the effective (useful) complexity of a complex agent-based system, perhaps with recourse to information theory or statistical mechanics. Am currently in the midst of brushing up my slightly creaky mathematics towards these ends.

Aside from this, I have an unending fascination with the applications of algorithms and generative techniques within the arts: rather than producing, say, a piece of music directly, we can produce a system which produces a whole class of pieces of music ("Metacreation"). I believe that this can help us expand creative practices in two key ways: by understanding our existing habits and art systems through formalisation and reflection, and augmenting learned creativity with artificial methods. The latter has a close and intriguing complexity tie-in if we consider non-human 'creative' phenomena such as evolutionary development. What can these complex systems tell us about our own creativity?

What sort of expertise can you bring to the group?

  • Code. Lots of code (though mostly imperative). C, C++, Objective-C, Python, Perl, Java/Processing, SQL. Simulation methods. Unixy things such as shell scripting, data mining, etc.
  • General purpose GPU acceleration with OpenGL, GLSL, CUDA. Want to run a 10^6 agent simulation on your desktop, in real time?
  • Visualisation and sonification techniques. Would love to produce some novel, engaging and useful representations of interesting data.
  • Curiosity, energy and interest in a whole range of areas.

What do you hope to get out of the CSSS?

  • Better analytic and formal modelling methodologies.
  • Ideas and insights into complexity generalisms.
  • More potential collaborations!

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

Yes, but not yet sufficient fully-formed to write up. Watch this space.