Orion Penner

From Santa Fe Institute Events Wiki

Hi all, I'm a Ph.D. student in the Complexity Science Group, in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Calgary. Previously, I did a M.A. in Physics at Boston University and a B.Sc.(Hns) in Physics at the University of Manitoba. More general information can be found at my homepage.

Currently, I am focusing on a project that could make explicit the connection between information theory and (biological) sequence alignment. Previously, I did a bit of work relating statistically significant features of Protein-Protein Interaction Networks to the evolutionary history of an organism. In general my background is in statistical physics and complex network analysis. Most of my work is computational.

Away from work I like to drink beer and play/watch hockey.

I look forward to getting down to Santa Fe and meeting everyone.



room ph: 4312

Otherwise I can be found in Suite 3, room #3.


1. What are your main interests?

Currently my collaborators and I are attempting to establish a concrete connection between information theory and biological sequence alignment. Generally, I work on, and think about, a lot of problems in a lot of different fields. I pretty much find a problem that I find interesting and see how far I can get. I mostly work on biological problems but the amount of time I spend thinking about social systems has been increasing.

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

Most of my work is computational. All of my code is written from scratch, usually in C/C++ but I also use Python and shell programing when necessary. I am mostly a self taught programmer, so my code is ugly, it makes Computer Scientists cry. Besides computation, I like to spend time on analytic stuff. I am somewhat proficient with non-equilibrium statistical mechanics techniques and am also reasonably knowledgeable about complex networks.

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

I'm looking forward to adding some technical knowledge through the lectures, particularly in the social sciences. As well, I am really looking forward to getting down to Santa Fe and interacting with the other attendees. I think that when you get this many young researchers together, especially when they are from such diverse backgrounds, good ideas are bound to happen.

Besides that, I hope to eat green chile, lots and lots of green chile.

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

a) I've sketched out a small model for examining gene duplication, it might be interesting to look at.

b) I have generated a few time series datasets that might be interesting to look at.

c) I may have a few small ideas I have about how one might connect the population dynamics of games to information theory.

By June one or two of these ideas might be sufficiently fleshed out or maybe they will have been discarded. Perhaps I will have a new set of ideas. Its hard to say.