Drew Levin

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki


Hi! I am a 4th year Computer Science PhD student at the University of New Mexico. I work with Professor Stephanie Forrest in the Complex Adaptive Systems lab. I did my undergraduate work at Harvey Mudd College and graduated with a BS in Computer Science.

In my free time I am a sports and games enthusiast. I currently play Ultimate Frisbee with the UNM college team. I formerly played basketball for CMS athletics as an undergrad. I grew up in Eugene, Oregon and am thus an avid fan of University of Oregon athletics and the Portland Trailblazers. I enjoy most strategic types of video games and also have a large collection of strategic board games which I use to run a monthly Game Night for the graduate CS department at UNM.

You can contact me at drew (a)

Main Interests

My research interests focus on the formation, structure, and emergent behavior of distributed autonomous systems. More specifically, I am interested in the transition of hierarchical/centralized systems to distributed/decentralized systems that serve the same purpose. As hierarchical systems grow larger they experience a disproportional growth in the cost of their network connections. At some point, the cost of growth for these systems becomes prohibitive. The solution to enable further growth often involves removal of the network to allow autonomous agents to function independently. Distributed systems can usually scale much more efficiently.

Areas that exhibit both hierarchical and decentralized systems are numerous and include economics, government, transportation, social networks, and computer architecture. My current focus is on the human adaptive immune system and social insect colonies.

Areas of Expertise

As a Computer Science major I have a strong background in computer programming. I am able to program in most computer languages. My CS background has also given me knowledge of efficient data structures, algorithms, and search and optimization methods (e.g. AI and machine learning).

Most of my work in the Complex Systems lab at UNM has involved designing and implementing computational models. I have experience implementing both continuous models involving systems of ordinary non-linear differential equations and discrete spatial models involving cellular autonoma and agent-based systems.

Goals for CSSS

I am currently focusing on putting together my thesis proposal. My specific goal for summer school will be to focus on creating and refining specific research questions that will be applicable to my future dissertation.

Project Ideas

I recently returned from a trip to the Dominican Republic. The transportation system there is completely unregulated yet it works with surprising efficiency (in both cost and time). It may be fun to model the emergence of an efficient transportation system in the absence of a centralized scheduler.