Julia Silvis

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Hello all,

I am in the Transportation, Technology and Policy program at the University of California-Davis. My research focuses on social networks and travel; it investigated how people use travel to maintain their social networks. My background is in the history of science, so I am looking forward to filling in some holes in my knowledge of complex systems during this four weeks, and in seeing all the interesting work other participants are doing. Looking forward to meeting you all!

Here are my five responses:

1. What topics do you have some expertise in and would you be willing to help others learn them?

I feel like I have very little expertise in any particular area--my education seems to be defined by breadth rather than depth. However, I did my undergraduate degree in the history of science, and would love to work with some of the other historians and philosophers of science out there. Currently, I am a graduate student in the Transportation, Technology and Policy department, so I have some knowledge of traffic modeling, although my primary interest is traveler behavior--how people make choices about their daily travel.

2. What do you want to learn at the CSSS?

I am interested in many applications of network theory. Without any firm background, what I would most like is to learn how to measure and analyze a network rigorously. Within that, I have two main interests:

1) How do you analyze interactions between networks that do not have the same nodes and edges? For instance, how does the network of where people actually go map onto the network of concrete roads? Can you put these networks together in a way to gain more insight into how they influence each other? Are the social networks of people in any way affected by the transportation network? If so, in what way?

2) I am also very much interested in learning how to visualize networks in ways that convey information in new and effective ways. For instance, is there some way to depict energy flows on the transportation network--e.g. depicting that on this freeway during rush hour, so many gallons of gas were burned? I know that these calculations are already part of air quality models, but it's an intermediate step and I haven't seen very powerful visualizations of it.

3. Do you have any projects or research interests that would benefit from an interdisciplinary approach?

I think all projects benefit from an interdisciplinary approach. In particular, I would be especially interested in working on teams including economists, mathematicians and/or computer scientists, to make up for my own lack of expertise in those areas.

4. Do you have any ideas for what sort of project you would like to do this summer?

I am interested in the power grid, in how social networks are maintained, transportation networks, and in the diffusion of innovations/ideas through social networks, but I haven't honed any of those interests down into a project yet.

5. Suppose you could travel one-hundred years in the future and ask researchers any three questions. What would those questions be? If I could travel 100 years in the future, I think all my questions would be about climate change and global energy supply, but to answer in the spirit of the question, they would be

1. Were complex systems a new paradigm that unified social and physical sciences, or a tangential off-shoot?

2. Has the vocabulary of networks and complex systems permeated common parlance?

3. I need a little more time to come up with a third one!