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PlexusCalls: "Networks of Echoes"- Dynamics of Decisions and Leadership
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When: Friday, February 19, 2-16
1 PM - 2 PM ET
Where: United States

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Friday, February 19, 2016

1PM- 2 PM ET

"Networks of Echoes"- Individual Decisions and Group Consensus

Guest: Bruce J. West and Kira Hutchinson


In their recent book Network of Echoes: Imitation, Innovation and Invisible Leaders, Bruce West and coauthors Malgorzata Turalska and Paolo Grigolini use rigorous math and science to explore different complex network phenomena and the way they relate to cooperation influence and leadership. This scholarship addresses vital social questions:  How are decisions reached in elections and boardrooms? How is the stability of a society undermined by zealots and how is that stability re-established? What can we can we learn about human behavior by studying the way flocks of birds retain their formation when eluding a predator? A generic model of a complex dynamic network—one whose global behavior is determined by a symmetric interaction among individuals based on social imitation—provides insights.

Dr. Bruce J. West is the Senior Scientist Mathematics (ST) in the Army Research Office of the Army Research Laboratory. He received a BA cum laude in physics at SUNY@ Buffalo in 1965; an MS (1967) and PhD (1970) in Physics from the University of Rochester. Dr. West was previously at the University of North Texas, where he was professor of physics, Chair of the Department of Physics, and where he did research into the quantum manifestations of chaos (energy level repulsion, ionization rate enhancement, breakdown of the Correspondence Principle), the foundations of statistical mechanics (getting random fluctuations without statistics, failure of the Green-Kubo relation, Lévy statistics), and nonlinear processing techniques applied to biomedical phenomena. He received the Decker Scholar Award in 1993 and the UNT President’s Award for research in 1994.

Prior to the university Dr. West was Director, Division of Applied Nonlinear Science, La Jolla Institute, where he worked on the development of nonlinear dynamical models of biomedical phenomena, physical oceanography and the statistical mechanical foundations of thermodynamics. Specifically he helped developed ways to use renormalization group concepts to extract pattern information from biomedical time series. He was Associate Director, Center for the Studies of Nonlinear Dynamics, La Jolla Institute, 1979-1983. He applied some of the newly emerging concepts in nonlinear dynamics systems theory to nonlinear water wave fields and turbulence. He also examined how the branching structure of the lung and other physiological structures could be described by scaling.

He has worked on the development of the fractional calculus for the modeling of complex phenomena and his book Physics of Fractal Operators (with Bologna and Grigolini, Springer, 2003) received the Army Research Laboratory Award for Publication in 2003. His recent research has also been in the area of modeling nonlinear networks and biomedical phenomena leading to 5 books, the 3 most recent being Complex Webs: anticipating the improbable (with Grigolini, Cambridge University Press, 2011);  Network of Echoes: Imitation, Innovation and Invisible Leaders (with Turalska & Grigolini, Springer, 2014); Fractional Calculus View of Complexity: Tomorrow’s Science (CRC, 2015). He authored over 300 peer reviewed journal articles and 17 books garnering over 16,000 citations resulting in an h-factor of 61.  Dr. West has held the position of Adjunct Professor of Physics at Duke University since 2000.

Dr. West was elected a Fellow of American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2012; and received the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award in 2012; Army Samuel S. Wilks Memorial Award 2011; Army Research and Development Achievement Award 2010, ARL Publication Award in 2003 & 2010; Professional of the Year in Applied Physical Science & Mathematics 2009 & 2011, Cambridge Who’s Who; Chair 2010-12 Army ST Corps; Commander’s Award for Civilian Service 2010; Founding Editor-in-Charge of Frontiers in Fractal Physiology 2010; Department of the Army Superior Civilian Service Award 2005; Fellow of the American Physical Society since 1992; past chair of the ARL Fellows; Member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, American Physiological Society and the American Physical Society.

Dr. Kira Hutchinson received her BS in Chemistry (with Honors) from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in 1986 and her Ph.D. in Synthetic Organic Chemistry at the University of California, Irvine in 1990.  She served as a Post-Doctoral Fellow and Principal Research Associate for the Institute for Chemical Education at Catholic University, Washington, D.C. from 1990-1991 and an Intramural Post-Doctoral Research Fellow at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD from 1991 to 1994. 

During 1994-2000, Dr. Hutchinson served as a Drug Sciences Officer for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Office of Diversion Control, Drug and Chemical Evaluation Section as a Technical Expert to the United Nations, International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) and World Health Organization (WHO) for issues concerning Drug Dependence.  Dr. Hutchinson served as the DEA Point of Contact for statistical United Nations reports concerning narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances, INTERPOL reports and INCB Questionnaires.

During 2000-2005, Dr. Hutchinson consulted for various Government Organizations to include the Night Vision and Electronic Sensors Directorate, US Army where she provided guidance for the research and development of explosives-related chemical sensors for landmine detection and neutralization.  She also served as a Technical Consultant to the Naval Explosives Ordnance Disposal Technology Division, identifying novel technologies for standoff, remote, handheld and desktop explosive detection.

From 2005 until 2006 Dr. Hutchinson transitioned to Government Civil Service as a GG-15 for the Devil’s Advocate Directorate, US Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) G2, US Army.  She is a Graduate of the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies (UFMCS), Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Red Team leader's Course (2007).

From 2006 to 2013, Dr. Hutchinson was a Red Team instructor for UFMCS and provided Red Team Training for numerous organizations within the Department of Defense as well as other Government Agencies.   Dr. Hutchinson co-developed the Adaptive Red Team Experimentation (Technical Support Operational Analysis (TSOA)) for the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics and Training.

In 2013, Dr. Hutchinson joined the TRADOC G2 Futures Team to support efforts to define and project far-future threats and dangers, resulting in a broad understanding of the future strategic and operational environment for TRADOC and the Army.

In 2015, Dr. Hutchinson became the Director of the TRADOC G29 supporting two main endeavors.  The first is the G9 mission to advocate TRADOC positions in the Nation Capital Region to shape the future force and inform resourcing with HQDA, other Services, OSD, Joint Staff, and Congress.  Dr. Hutchinson’s second endeavor is the Mad Scientist Initiative which constitutes a continuous dialogue to help the Army think about the evolution of the Operational Environment (OE), and the effects of all aspects of technology on the far future of Armed Conflict, continuously learn, adapt, and innovate and allow for broader engagement in problem solving.  This initiative helps TRADOC maintain a perspective on understanding the far future operational environment and the underlying technology evolution to support the campaign of learning, 2025 maneuvers, and capability development for the US Army.

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