Professional Summary


Beyond Computation


My current research projects examine the influence of urbanization on agricultural land use and the relationship between broader development and climatic adaptation around Poyang Lake.

I am an interdisciplinary researcher with broad interests in land use, development, human-environment systems, and complex adaptive systems in general. My research integrates social, economic, environmental and institutional perspectives and combines computer modeling with other methods (surveys, interviews, and spatial analysis) to study land use and development in less developed areas and sustainability of human-environment systems. I am also interested in policy from the perspective of complex adaptive systems and, related to this, human cognition and decision making.

Prior to my appointment at George Mason University, I worked as an assistant research professor at the Institute of Remote Sensing Applications/Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing, China), a research fellow at the International Center for Science and High Technology/United Nations Industrial Organization (Trieste, Italy), and a software engineer for Veritas Software Corporation (Reston, VA).

I hold a B.S. in Computer Science from Peking University, an M.S. in GIS and Remote Sensing from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the School of Natural Resources and Environment at the University of Michigan. My doctoral thesis From Vulnerability to Sustainability: Rural Development in the Poyang Lake Region of China amid Institutional Changes and Flood Hazards, supervised by Daniel Brown, applies the science of complexity to the study of the human-environment system around Poyang Lake. After completion of my Ph.D., I studied with Robert Axelrod as a postdoc in the Ford School of Public Policy at Michigan.

Major Courses

CSS 605 Object-Oriented Modeling of Social Science

CSS 643 Land-Use Modeling Techniques and Applications

CSS 665 Complex Adaptive Systems and Policy

CSS 692 Social Network Analysis

CDS 101 Intro to Computational and Data Sciences