Policy Analysis for Complex Systems (PACS) Speaker Series

As part of its work on strategy and long-term planning under conditions of deep uncertainty, the Pardee Center is inviting experts in understanding, managing, and shaping complex adaptive systems (CAS) to participate in the Policy Analysis for Complex Systems (PACS) Speaker Series. This internal speaker series and related discussions are part of an ongoing initiative at RAND to identify key issues for the future practice of policy and systems analysis.

Previous Visiting Speakers

Catalytic Cooperation: Managing Transnational Problems Effectively and Fairly

March 28, 2022

Thomas Hale

Thomas Hale, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Global Public Policy, Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford

Dr. Thomas Hale’s research explores how we can manage transnational problems effectively and fairly. He seeks to explain how political institutions evolve—or not—to face the challenges raised by globalization and interdependence, with a particular emphasis on environmental, economic, and health issues. He holds a Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University, a masters degree in Global Politics from the London School of Economics, and an A.B. in public policy from Princeton’s School of Public and International Affairs. A U.S. national, Hale has studied and worked in Argentina, China, and Europe. His books include Beyond Gridlock (Polity 2017), Between Interests and Law: The Politics of Transnational Commercial Disputes (Cambridge 2015), Transnational Climate Change Governance (Cambridge 2014), and Gridlock: Why Global Cooperation Is Failing when We Need It Most (Polity 2013). Hale leads the Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker.

Complexity, Cognition, and Language: How Our Linguistic Habits Shape—and Distort—Our Understanding of Today’s Complex Strategic Environment

February 7, 2022

Josh Kerbel

Josh Kerbel

Research Faculty, National Intelligence University

Josh Kerbel is a member of the research faculty at the National Intelligence University where he explores the increasingly complex security environment and the associated intelligence challenges. Prior to joining NIU, he held senior analytical positions at DIA, ODNI (including the NIC), the Navy staff, CIA, and ONI. His writings on the intersections of government (especially intelligence) and complexity have been published in Foreign Policy, The Washington Post, Studies in Intelligence, Slate, The National Interest, The Hill, War on the Rocks, Defense One, Parameters, and other outlets. Kerbel has degrees from the George Washington University and the London School of Economics as well as professional certifications from the Naval War College and the Naval Postgraduate School. More recently he was a post-graduate fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Grand Challenges of Planetary Governance, and Achieving Critical Transitions in International Society

February 4, 2022

Oran Young

Oran Young

Professor Emeritus and co-director of the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development
Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
University of California Santa Barbara

Oran Young is professor emeritus and co-director of the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California Santa Barbara. His research focuses on theoretical issues relating to the roles social institutions play as elements of governance systems, with applications to the atmosphere, the oceans, and the polar regions. He also does comparative research on environmental governance processes in China and the United States. He is the author or co-author of more than 30 books. His recent books include: Governing Complex Systems: Social Capital for the Anthropocene, and Grand Challenges of Global Governance: Global Order in Turbulent Times.

Building Organizations Embedded in Complex Systems: Reimagining Health Systems and Medical Education

September 14, 2021

Pedro “Joe” Greer, Jr.

Pedro “Joe” Greer, Jr.

Professor and Founding Dean, Roseman University College of Medicine

Pedro “Joe” Greer is a physician and dean of the Roseman University College of Medicine, a new Las Vegas-based medical school reimagining medical education. Before joining Roseman, Greer developed a unique and pioneering educational program at Florida International University (FIU) to train medical students in addressing social determinants of health. He has received both the Presidential Medal of Freedom (2009) and the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship (1993).

Integrative Pluralism: A Discussion on Science, Complexity and Policy

May 26, 2021

Sandra Mitchell

Sandra Mitchell

Distinguished Professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh

Sandra D. Mitchell is an American philosopher of science and historian of ideas. She holds the position of distinguished professor in the department of History and Philosophy of Science at the University of Pittsburgh. Her research focuses on the philosophy of biology and the philosophy of social science, and connections between the two. She is the author of Unsimple Truths, Science, Complexity and Policy (University of Chicago Press, 2009).

Complexity Economics

February 26, 2021

Brian Arthur

Brian Arthur

External Professor, Santa Fe Institute; and Visiting Researcher, System Sciences Lab, PARC

Brian Arthur is an economist credited with contributing to the development of the modern approach to increasing returns. He is an authority on economics in relation to complexity theory, technology and financial markets. He is a member of the Founders Society of the Santa Fe Institute and in 1988 ran its first research program.

Dynamics of American Business Firms from a Complex Systems Perspective: Data, Theories, and Agent-Based Models

December 14, 2020

Robert Axtell

Robert Axtell

Professor, Computational Science, George Mason University

Rob Axtell is Professor at George Mason University where he advises Ph.D. students in Mason’s novel Computational Social Science Ph.D. degree program. He works at the intersection of economics and computer science while also working on policy problems from a computational perspective. His book with J. Epstein, “Growing Artificial Societies” (MIT Press) is an early statement of the use of agent-based modeling in the social sciences. His research has been published in “Science” and other general interest journals, in leading field journals (e.g., “American Economic Review,” “Economic Journal”), and in computer science conference proceedings (e.g., “Autonomous Agent and Multi-Agent Systems”). He is an external faculty member at the Santa Fe Institute (SFI) and Northwestern University’s Institute on Complex Systems (NICO). He earned a Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University.

Many Models Approach to Complex Adaptive System Change

July 23, 2020

Scott Page

Scott Page

John Seely Brown Distinguished University Professor of Complexity, Social Science, and Management at the University of Michigan

Scott Page is the John Seely Brown Distinguished University Professor of Complexity, Social Science, and Management at the University of Michigan, and an elected member (2011) of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Scott’s work covers disciplines including economics, political science, computer science, management, physics, public health, geography, urban planning, engineering, and history. He has written five books including The Model Thinker: What you need to know to make data work for you; Complex Adaptive Social Systems (with John Miller); and, most recently, Diversity and Complexity, which explores the contributions of diversity within complex systems.