The Complex Systems Advanced Academic Workshop (CSAAW, pronounced "see-saw") is an ongoing interdisciplinary research forum that receives funding from Rackham via its Rackham Interdisciplinary Workshops (RIW) program as well as the Center for Study of Complex Systems.

The goal of CSAAW is to support graduate students interested in complex systems research, especially those working towards writing a dissertation that involves ideas from many disciplines as well as tools used to study complex systems. Through our regular meetings, students discuss their own work and receive feedback from other students, faculty and researchers. For some meetings, students present "tutorials" on various complex systems related topics or methodology. Other meetings consist of talks by and discussions with invited speakers who are active in complex systems research. These speakers, many of whom are recent graduates, discuss their own work in addition to providing advice on how to successfully complete a complex systems (interdisciplinary) disseration, and how to navigate through the post-graduate job market.

If you have questions about CSAAW or would like to join, please contact csaaw-organizers@umich.edu. For the most up-to-date info about CSAAW, please visit our wiki. The wiki has information about the research interests of current participants, links to talks from previous meetings, and is a great place to begin exploring a wide variety of topics in complex systems.

CSAAW Featured Student

Berger CSAAW

William Berger

To highlight the incredible breadth of research being done by complex systems students at the University of Michigan, CSAAW is pleased to feature our outstanding students. Previous featured students can be found here

Our current featured student is William Berger. He works to inform democratic theory and epistemic democracy by drawing upon empirical results and formal methods in political science. His dissertation asks what role institutions play in creating trust and the feedback processes that can make them effective in doing so. There is plenty of work already on how institutions condition our expectations by shaping the incentives of others or people's default levels of trust. Not enough attention has been paid to the emergence of affective trust though, which is unfortunate given the amount of research it has elicited in the fields of psychology and philosophy. He talks to Christian missionaries who work in the developing world to better understand how they trust those to whom they preach. William was awarded an NSF IGERT Fellowship through the Center for the Study of Complex Systems in 2011. His personal webpage can be found here

Education:  University of Chicago, A.B. 2005

Dissertation Committee:  Don Herzog, Jenna Bednar, Arlene Saxonhouse, Elizabeth Anderson

Methods and Tools: agent-based modeling, mathematical models, regression analysis, interviews and survey research

Complex Systems concepts: environmental feedback, self-organization, emergence