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Systems Science Seminar Series

SUMMARY: The Systems Science Seminar Series covers a wide-range of topics, providing an opportunity for presenters to share and attendees to become exposed to latest and often cutting-edge research from different fields and disciplines. Agent-based simulation, artificial intelligence, artificial life, genetic algorithms, machine learning, neural networks, signal processing, social networks, system dynamics, and science itself are just a few of the many diverse topics that have been presented, all in an informal environment where questions and discussion are encouraged. The Seminar Syllabus is also available here.

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS: If you have questions or comments, would like to present a seminar, or if you have suggestions for topics or speakers, please email Andey Nunes at

SEMINAR ANNOUNCEMENT LISTSERVE: to receive seminar announcements email  We'll soon be setting up a Google Group for this.

Past seminar links and records can be found on our Seminar Archive page


Winter 2017 Schedule

Fall 2016 Schedule

  • 10/7/16 -- Peter Geissert, MPH PhD Systems Science student, "Modeling Opioid Related Overdose Events from PDMP Data." [Announcment] [recording]
  • 10/14/16 -- Joe Fusion, PhD, "Role of Environmental Dynamics in the Emergence of Autocatalytic Networks" [Announcement] [recording]
  • 10/21/16 -- 

    Kjell van Zoen & Brion Hurley

    "Lean & Green Workflow Improvement: A whole systems approach" [Announcement] [remote participation] [recording]
  • 10/28/16 --  Hank Patton "Science, Global Finance and Decarbonization: Is there a common transactional framework for COP21, Agenda2030 and Habitat III? [Announcement] [recording]
  • 11/4/16 -- Amanuel Zimam, "Socioeconomic Determinants of Health Disparities: The Mediating Role of Psychological, Behavioral and Social Integration" [Announcement] [recording]
  • 11/11/16 no seminar due to holiday
  • 11/18/16 -- Martin Zwick, "Secondary Analysis of Concussion Data" [Announcement] [recording]
  • 11/25/16 no seminar due to holiday
  • 12/2/16 -- Rajesh Venkatachalaphy, "Mathematical Models of Moral Luck" [Announcement] [recording]


Winter 2016 Schedule

  • 1/8/16 -- John G Anasis, PhD Systems Science, "A Combined Energy and Geoengineering Optimization Model (CEAGOM) for Climate Policy Analysis" [Announcment] [Recording] Model Files: [CEAGOM Users Guide] [Concentration Limit] [Unrecoverd Cost Template] [Cumulative Emissions Limit] [Emissions Limit] [No Climate Limits] [Temperature Limit] [Dissertation]
  • 1/15/16 -- Barry Oken, PhD Neurologist OHSU and PhD Systems Science candidate, "Stress Physiology in Humans: a Systems Approach to Stress, Stressors, and Resilience." [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 1/22/16 -- Patrick Leyshock, PhD Senior Research Associate, Computational Biology, OHSU, "Computational Biology and T-cell Receptor Sequencing" [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 1/29/16 -- Vivek Shandas, PhD Associate Professor Urban Studies and Planning at PSU, "Analytics for Characterizing Urban Heat Islands in Data Rich and Poor Locations" [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 2/5/16 -- Antonie Jetter, PhD Associate Professor Engineering and Technology Management at PSU, "Fuzzy Cognitive Maps for Collaborative Modeling: An introduction" [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 2/12/16 -- Andey Nunes, PSU Systems Science masters student, "Facilitated discussion on systems science in public health" [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 2/19/16 -- Janne Boone-Heinonen, PhD, MPH and Lynne C Messer, PhD, MPH PSU School of Community Health, Center for Public Health Studies, Developmental Origins of Health and Disease (DOHaD), "Mitigating fetal programming of chronic disease: conceptual framework, initial evidence, and methodological challenges" [Announcement] [Recording
  • 2/26/16 -- Diana Fisher, PSU Systems Science Program PhD candidate, " Do Student-Built System Dynamics Models Help Students Better Differentiate Between Linear and Exponential Behavior Over Time? Results of a Short Experiment." [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 3/4/16 -- David Maier, Professor Computer Science PSU Maseeh College of Engineering and Computer Science [Announcement] [Recording]
  • 3/11/16 -- Jonathan Strauss, PSU Systems Science Program [Announcement] [Recording]



DATE: Friday, February 24th, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

PRESENTER: Dora Raymaker

PRESENTATION TITLE: Demystifying the Peer-Reviewed Publication Process

SUMMARY: The business of peer-reviewed publication can seem complex and daunting. This seminar breaks down the parts and shares examples of the process from both an author and a peer-reviewer perspective. I’ll cover:

1. How to identify publishable papers and which journals to send them to

2. Writing and admin tips to enhance your chances of a favorable review

3. Walking through the process of seeking publication from start to finish

4. …including What to expect from reviewers and how to address reviewer comments and rejections

5. How to get involved as a peer reviewer, and why it benefits both you and science

6. Walking through the process of conducting peer review

7. Post-publication—getting your work known about and read

I’ll bring juicy samples! And answer as many of your questions as I can.

BIO: Dora Raymaker, PhD is an Assistant Research Professor at the Portland State University's Regional Research Institute and co-directs the Academic Autism Spectrum Partnership in Research and Education (AASPIRE, She is an intervention researcher with particular interest in community-engaged practices, accessible technology, measurement adaptation and knowledge translation, and dynamics at the intersection of science, society, and public policy. Dr. Raymaker primarily conducts research in collaboration with disability communities. She has been publishing papers and book chapters since her early student days in the Systems Science program, and is a peer reviewer for a number of journals.



DATE: Friday, February 17, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

PRESENTER: Raúl Bayoán Cal

PRESENTATION TITLE: ‘Miniaturizing’ Turbulent Flows and Its Practical Applications 

SUMMARY:  Flows in nature tend to vary quite often and their complexity is such that controlling them tends to be difficult.  With the use of scaled environments, it is possible to more closely control the variables of interest while managing to provide conclusions about posed questions/underlying physics such is the case with wind farms, volcanic plumes and forested canopies.  Here, these examples will be visited and their practical implications in each of the problems.

BIO: Raúl Bayoán Cal is an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Portland State University.  He received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY in 2006.  He also holds an M.S. Degree in Experimental and Computational Turbulence from Chalmers University of Technology attained in 2006.  He was a postdoctoral fellow at Johns Hopkins University.  His area of research is focused on understanding turbulence and complexity in fluid mechanics.



DATE: Friday, February 10th, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

PRESENTER: Shauna Petchel

PRESENTATION TITLE: Primary Care Transformation in Oregon

SUMMARY: This is the first of two presentations on the evaluation of Oregon’s Patient Centered Primary Care Home program (PCPCH), which was established by the Oregon Legislature in 2009. PCPCH seeks to improve primary care toward the “Triple Aim” of better patient experiences, lower costs, and improved population health. The Oregon Health Authority contracted with PSU to evaluate the program’s implementation, including to understand the organizational conditions and process improvement activities of “exemplary” PCPCH clinics. This presentation will review the qualitative strand of the evaluation led by Dr. Sherril Gelmon and Dr. Billie Sandberg (quantitative findings will be separately presented later this term by Dr. Neal Wallace). Shauna will share how the evaluation has informed her research on improving coordination between the health and social service sectors, and afterwards she will facilitate a “Research in Progress” style discussion with attendees about her dissertation next steps.

BIO: Shauna Petchel is a doctoral student in the OHSU-PSU School of Public Health’s program in Health Systems & Policy and a graduate research assistant at the Nonprofit Institute at PSU’s Center for Public Service, where she supports training for nonprofit professionals in program evaluation. Prior to returning to PSU in 2015, she worked for a decade in Portland’s nonprofit community supporting hunger and domestic violence prevention efforts. She holds an MPH from PSU and a BS in Nutrition from UNLV, and is a graduate of the Center for Women’s Leadership.




DATE: Friday, January 27th, 2017, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

PRESENTER: Ryan Spangler

PRESENTATION TITLE: Systems in Genomics

SUMMARY: Biology and Genomics are in an interesting phase right now. What has largely been an academic enterprise fueled by publications is turning into an industry, and the transition from one-off models for a paper into large scale processing infrastructure is not without its discomfort.

In March of 2016 I took a position in the Computational Biology department at OHSU. Coming from a Systems and engineering background I entered the world of Genomics mostly uninformed. They needed raw code power and were happy to supplement their team of scientists with people who are more focused on building large scale computer systems. For the most part, either people know biology or they know code, but not both, and the department’s identity is to be where these two fields converge. This lead to the current approach where you take biology people and code people, put them in the same room and hope they do amazing things.

In this talk I will share my experience of entering the field of Genomics knowing mostly nothing beforehand, what I have learned about the field and what I hope to accomplish now that I have a better idea of what’s going on. Also, I will discuss how the things I learned in Systems Science apply to the wild world of biological heritage.

BIO: Ryan Spangler is currently working as a Software Engineer in the Computational Biology department at OHSU. Before that he was Lead Developer at a local startup called Little Bird that did structural analysis of information flow through social networks. He completed his Masters in Systems Science at PSU in 2010, and has spent a lifetime creating things in every medium he can find, including code, music, art, performance, board games, and chair sculptures.




DATE: Friday, January 20th, 2017, 3:45 - 4:45 PM

LOCATION: Science Research and Teaching Center, Room B1-82


PRESENTATION TITLE: Consequences of Proposed Presidential Policies: A Multidisciplinary Dialogue

SUMMARY: The 2016 United States presidential election was atypical, and many in the US and around the globe were surprised by the election of a wealthy political outsider who campaigned on a number of controversial policy positions and had introduced unprecedented uncertainty into the political world. Since the presidential inauguration coincides with a day reserved for graduate seminars, PSU’s System Science Program and Environmental Science & Management Department decided to jointly host a multidisciplinary dialogue where students and faculty can explore perspective on what the Trump presidency may mean for their respective areas of scholarship and professional focus. Dr. David Hall (System Science/Psychology) has offered to facilitate this session, which will consist of an introduction to the methodology of dialogue followed by an open forum dialogue-structured around two primary questions: 1) What policy decisions will you be most attentive to and why? And 2) what, if anything, will change about the focus of your work and why? Light refreshments to be provided courtesy of the Environmental Science & Management Department.

BIO: David is an Adjunct Professor in the Systems Science Program and Department of Psychology.  As a Systems Psychologist, David’s interests and background span broadly across levels of analysis and disciplines, with particular interest in systems thinking, ecopsychology, group and organizational dynamics, dialogue, and indigenous cultures.  Integrating these interests, he has largely invested his studies, advocacy, and professional work towards “sustainability.”  Outside PSU, David is a facilitator and organizational consultant.  David earned his Ph.D. in Systems Science: Psychology and M.S. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from Portland State University (PSU), and his B.S. in Psychology from the University of Oregon.



DATE: Friday, December 2nd, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

PRESENTER: Rajesh Venkatachalapathy

PRESENTATION TITLE: Mathematical Models of Moral Luck 

Moral luck (Stanford Enclyclopedia of Philosophy) occurs when an agent can be correctly treated as an object of moral judgment despite the fact that a significant aspect of what she is assessed for depends on factors beyond her control. Detailed discussions on the notion of moral luck began with a pair of classic articles by Nagel(1979) and Williams(1981), although it can be traced back to Adam Smith's Theory of Moral Sentiments. The first part of the talk introduces stochastic process models of poverty traps. In the second part of the talk, I argue that such models of escape from poverty can be used to develop models of moral luck, concluding with an argument for more intercourse between social sciences and moral philosophy. 

This work is first of three applications developed in my dissertation. 
Bio: Rajesh is a graduate student at the Systems Science Graduate Program. His dissertation work develops models of behavior for use as models in sociology, psychology and animal behavior.
Remote participation: 


DATE: Friday, November 18th, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

PRESENTER: Martin Zwick

PRESENTATION TITLE: Secondary Analysis of Concussion Data

SUMMARY: Clinical studies are expensive and time-consuming. Typically in these studies a set of specific hypotheses are subjected to confirmatory analysis. Yet the data may harbor evidence of unanticipated relations between measured variables. It is thus desirable to subject the data also to secondary analyses in the hope of discovering novel and potentially valuable associations. Exploratory analysis, however, is necessarily tentative: findings should be replicated in new data.

This presentation reports some secondary analyses on concussion data. Data mining results on two data sets will be discussed, and some anomalous and unexpected findings will be reported. The analyses utilize reconstructability analysis (RA), a probabilistic graphical modeling method implemented in the Occam software package developed in the Systems Science Program. This work is funded by the Department of Defense via the Brain Trauma Foundation in conjunction with Stanford University.

BIO: Martin Zwick was awarded his Ph.D. in Biophysics at MIT in 1968, and joined the Biophysics Department faculty of the University of Chicago in 1969. Initially working in crystallography and macromolecular structure, his interests shifted to systems theory and methodology, a.k.a. the study of chaos, complexity, and complex adaptive systems. Since 1976 he has been teaching and doing research in the PSU Systems Science Program; during the years 1984-1989 he was director of the program.

His main research areas are information theoretic modeling and machine learning, theoretical biology and game theory, and systems theory and philosophy. Scientifically, his focus is on applying systems theory/methodology to the natural and social sciences, especially to biomedical data analysis and the evolution of cooperation. Philosophically, his focus is on how systems ideas relate to classical and contemporary philosophy and how they help us understand societal problems. For details on RA, see



    DATE: Friday, November 4, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION:  Portland State University, Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER:  Amanuel Zimam 

    PRESENTATION TITLE:  Socioeconomic Determinants of Health Disparities: The Mediating Role of Psychological, Behavioral and Social Integration

    SUMMARY:  Difference in health outcomes among race/ethnic groups, where racial/ethnic minorities experience worse outcome, is a documented problem in the US. Socioeconomic statuses (SES) have been proposed as the fundamental causes of differences in health outcomes. The process by which SES influences health status or health outcome is not clear, however. This research examines (1) Whether SES (income, wealth, job status, education) interacted with Psychological (P), Behavioral (B) and Social Integration (S) variables [or PBS] to predict physical health status and whether these interactions varied by race/ethnicity and (2) Whether PBS variables function differently as intermediate variables in the pathway between SES and physical health status. Results showed that, overall, variables independently predicted physical health status with slight difference in predictive variables. Fit results indicated that between group variation was small, whereas, within group variation was substantial. 

    BIO: Amanuel Zimam is a Doctoral Candidate at the Systems Science Ph.D. Program. His research interests are Health Disparities, Health Services Research, Health Policy, Comparative Health Systems and Quantitative Research Methods.



    DATE: Friday, October 28, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Portland State University, Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Hank Patton

    PRESENTATION TITLE:  Science, Global Finance and Decarbonization: Is there a common transactional framework for COP21, Agenda2030 and Habitat III?

    SUMMARY:  Estimates of as much as 10 trillion in annual capital investment will be required to meet the COP21 carbon and UN sustainable development commitments unanimously adopted by the community of nations in the Fall of 2015.  While coal equity ($230B in 225 companies) is relatively easy to ring fence as managers increasingly move to decarbonize portfolios, the oil and gas industry ($4.3T in 1500 companies) is another matter. The Climatewise Reinsurance Alliance (aggregate assets $3.5+ trillion), issued a call at Durban for coordinated global policy to address fixed asset risk and policy supporting investment-grade bonds specifically dedicated to climate change solutions, and stating that less than .01% of the $95T bond market (2011) had been positively identified by issuers or market observers as contributing to low carbon growth.

    This seminar provides a progress report on Intergenerational Finance™ (IGF), an emerging science-based market for system-scale redevelopment based on long term investment instruments (“Green”Bonds) tied to mandatory standards designed to establish secondary markets in measurable social and environmental outcomes (AKA externalities), including merchantable classes of avoided risk.  Intergenerational Finance was the subject of a regional forum hosted by the National Policy Consensus Center and the Institute for Sustainable Solutions at PSU in June 2012, funded by the James F. and Marion L Miller Foundation.

    Long recognized as “inefficient” but embraced as good for GNP, the market failure of short-term narrowly focused investments that impose hidden costs on society and the environment is now globally acknowledged as threatening planetary stability and the human prospect.

    The seminar examines how an intergenerational market framework for brown-green redevelopment can provide a voluntary, orderly and profitable protocol at system scale for the retirement and redevelopment of risk-inducing infrastructure, the massive trapped equity problem described by Climatewise Reinsurance Alliance.  Capitalization of the proposed retirement and redevelopment of the Navajo Generating Station will be considered as one example.  The seminar considers a contract metrics development initiative in conjunction with Future Earth, a project of the Science and Technology Alliance for Global Sustainability, and the unprecedented brown-green redevelopment fund proposed for announcement at dedication of the net-zero Sustainability Pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects for the 2020 world expo in Dubai.

    Simon Zadek, Co-chair of the UNEP Inquiry into a Sustainable Financial System, states: “Sustainability more than anything perhaps requires intergenerational financial transactions…yet a sufficiently scaled and robust transactional framework is in the main lacking today, as Patton points out in his work on intergenerational finance.”

    BIO: Hank is founder of World Steward and the Little White Salmon Biodiversity Reserve; and he is the Managing Director for Institute for Culture and Ecology



    DATE: Friday, Month day, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Kjell van Zoen & Brion Hurley

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Lean & Green Workflow Improvement: A whole systems approach


    No business, organization or individual is immune to waste and inefficiency. It can be spotted across all business sectors and industries, in physical workspaces, during customer interactions, on the production line, inventory management, in the back office, in the classroom, and individual workflow practices. Lean process improvement initiatives have been gaining popularity, based on the Toyota Production System created by Taiichi Ohno in the 1950's.

    The focus of such initiatives are to reduce non-value added activities (i.e. anything the customer is not willing to pay for, called waste) while improving efficiencies and overall product and service quality. Removing these wastes allows organization to save money and spend more time on value-added tasks. Two case studies will be provided from schools who have applied Lean to their internal processes.

    What separates Lean from other improvement techniques is the focus on improving the entire system, not suboptimizing a single department or individual's work. It is also a focus on building culture, starting with the employees who perform the value-added work. The goal is not to make people work harder and faster, but to make the processes easier and more effective. 

    By the early 2000’s, a connection was being made between waste and the impact it had on the environment (energy, water, landfill, pollution and carbon emissions), and the idea of “lean and green” was born. Organizations are seeing tremendous benefits by looking at the system beyond their four walls, to incorporate the natural environment into the decision making process.


    Kjell van Zoen is a lean business consultant focused on small manufacturers. He adopted lean while running his own manufacturing business (Plywerk). He also used lean to forward the company's’ eco-conscious business practices, and gave over 200 local government & business leaders, and other interested parties “lean and green” tours of Plywerk. He teaches lean at PCC, is a brand ambassador for Portland Made, and regular speaker about lean, green and local manufacturing.

    Brion Hurley is a Principal Lean Consultant at Rockwell Collins (aerospace manufacturer) in Wilsonville, OR. He led Rockwell Collins to the Leaders in Sustainability Gold Certification. He is a Certified Six Sigma Black Belt from ASQ, and Lean Master certified. He has a bachelor’s degree in Statistics, and a master’s degree in Quality Management and Productivity from the University of Iowa. He obtained a Certificate of Sustainability from the University of Iowa.




    DATE: Friday, October 14, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Joe Fusion, PhD

    PRESENTATION TITLE: The Role of Environmental Dynamics in the Emergence of Autocatalytic Networks

    SUMMARY:This seminar will present the high-level results of the speaker's dissertation research, with additional discussion on the project's relationship to Systems Science. The research was designed to answer the question of whether dynamic, cyclic interactions with the environment could contribute to increasing complexity in a prebiotic chemical system. The system was modeled as an abstract chemistry in a dissipative particle dynamics model, and the environmental dynamics as cyclic changes in energy state or particle flow. Methods from the study of autocatalytic reaction networks were used to measure complexity, by characterizing how specific portions of the system differ away from an equilibrium state. The results demonstrate that these cyclic interactions are able to contribute to the emergence of autocatalytic networks. This finding suggests that such cycles could have a role in the origin of chemical life, and that future research into the role of environmental dynamics may be warranted.

    BIO: Joe Fusion is an adjunct and a graduate of the Systems Science Ph.D. program. His research interests include complex systems, data mining & modeling, theoretical biology, and so on. He also works as a consultant and contractor in the domains of modeling, data science, and computer science.


    Time: Friday, 10/7/16, noon-1pm

    Location: Harder House, Room 104 (SW 10th & Market)

    Title: Modeling Opioid Related Overdose Events from PDMP Data

    Abstract: Mortality due to prescription opioid overdose is an enduring public health crisis in the United States. High-risk opioid use occurs at the intersection of clinician prescribing practices and patient behaviors. Increased scrutiny of prescription drug misuse, diversion, and “doctor shopping” has prompted implementation of Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) in 49 States. Some States use proactive alerts to help clinicians identify potentially risky prescribing patterns, while others, including Oregon, do not. Alerts are typically triggered when patients have reached prescribing thresholds in the number of prescribers or pharmacies they use, high doses of opioids, or overlaps between drugs with known interactions. Definitive evidence-based measures for triggering proactive alerts do not yet exist, and the accuracy of alerts in predicting overdose, diversion, and/or abuse is only partly understood. There may also be risk of "alert fatigue" among clinicians. The purpose of this research was to evaluate candidate metrics for predicting risk of opioid overdose, to develop a parsimonious predictive model, and to address not just overall model accuracy and fit, but also the sensitivity and specificity. This research is intended to evaluate the potential effectiveness of using PDMP data for proactive alerts and to inform clinical decision making. This presentation will discuss some of the complications associated with modeling rare events using logistic regression.

    Presenter Bio: Peter Geissert completed his Masters of Public Health at Portland State University and is currently a student in the Systems Science PhD Program. For the last four years he has worked as a Graduate Research Assistant to Professor Neal Wallace in the PSU School of Public Administration studying health care utilization and expenditures. More recently he has worked as a Research Associate, under Professor Wayne Wakeland at PSU and Rick Deyo, MD at OHSU, on an NIH grant to study Oregon's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program. Peter is studying patient-risk factors for opioid overdose and PDMP utilization. He is also currently working for the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality studying what is in your garbage. His interests include public health, complex systems, analytics and the application of dynamic modeling and machine learning methods to epidemiology. He enjoys spending time with his children, bicycling, playing music and building things.

    Remote Participation:



    DATE: Friday, January 8, 2015, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: John G. Anasis

    PRESENTATION TITLE: A Combined Energy and Geoengineering Optimization Model (CEAGOM) for Climate Policy Analysis

    SUMMARY: One of the greatest challenges that will face humanity in the 21st century is the issue of climate change brought about by emissions of greenhouse gases. Energy use is one of the primary sources of greenhouse gas emissions. However, it is also one of the most important contributors to improved human welfare over the past two centuries and will continue to be so for years to come. This quandary has led a number of researchers to suggest that geoengineering may be required in order to allow for continued use of fossil fuels while at the same time mitigating the effects of the associated greenhouse gas emissions on the global climate. The goal of this research was to develop a model that would allow decision-makers and policy analysts to assess the optimal mix of energy and geoengineering resources needed to meet global or regional energy demand at the lowest cost while accounting for appropriate emissions, greenhouse gas concentration, or temperature rise constraints. The resulting software model is called the Combined Energy and Geoengineering Optimization Model (CEAGOM). CEAGOM was then used to analyze the recently announced U.S.-China emissions agreement and to assess what the optimal global energy resource mix might be over the course of the 21st century, including the associated potential need for geoengineering. These analyses yielded optimal mixes of energy and geoengineering resources that could be used to inform regional and global energy and climate management strategies.

    BIO: John Anasis just completed his Ph.d in Systems Science at Portland State in fall term, 2015.  He also holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering with a minor in physics from the University of Portland and a master’s degree in public administration from Portland State.  John has been an electrical engineer in the electrical utility industry for over 30 years with extensive experience in the operation of large high-voltage power grids and policy issues related to the transmission of electric power.   In addition to his experience in the power industry, John has a strong interest in climate science, physics, cyber security, and the relationships between science, technology, and religion.   John comes from a large extended family and is an active member of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in Portland.



    DATE: Friday, January 15, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Barry Oken

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Stress Physiology in Humans: a Systems Approach to Stress, Stressors, and Resilience.

    SUMMARY: This talk focuses on the biology of stress and resilience and their biomarkers in humans from the system science perspective. A stressor pushes the physiological system away from its baseline state towards a lower utility state. The physiological system may return towards the original state in one attractor basin but may be shifted to a state in another, lower utility attractor basin. While some physiological changes induced by stressors may benefit health, there is often a chronic wear and tear cost due to implementing changes to enable the return of the system to its baseline state and maintain itself in the high utility baseline attractor basin following repeated perturbations. This cost, also called allostatic load, is the utility reduction associated with both a change in state and with alterations in the attractor basin that affect system responses following future perturbations. This added cost can increase the time course of the return to baseline or the likelihood of moving into a different attractor basin following a perturbation. Opposite to this is the system’s resilience which influences its ability to return to the high utility attractor basin following a perturbation by increasing the likelihood and/or speed of returning to the baseline state following a stressor. The talk will emphasize topics most relevant to moving the stress and resilience field forward from a more quantitative and perspective. 

    BIO: Dr. Oken has been a neurologist and researcher in the human neurophysiology, behavioral neurology and cognitive neuroscience fields for 30 years. Mind-body medicine with its impact on the stress system has been a research focus for the last 15 years. He has been interested in the effects of chronic psychological stress on biomarkers of stress and resilience in part to evaluate improvements from mind-body medicine interventions. He also directs an NCCIH T32, providing funding since 2005 of 30 post-doctoral fellows with an interest in a career in academic complementary medicine. His strong skills in quantitative analysis of physiological data were enhanced by his recent graduate coursework facilitated by the recently completed NIH-NCCIH K24 award “Advancing physiological signal analysis for mind-body research”. The coursework and related comprehensive examination resulted in a Master of Science in Systems Science and a scheduled PhD dissertation defense on February 19, 2016. 



    DATE: Friday, January 22, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Patrick Leyshock

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Computational Biology and T-Cell Receptor Sequencing

    SUMMARY: Leyshock will begin with an overview of Computational Biology work at OHSU, then take a closer look at T­cell sequencing pipeline under development. The pipeline itself will be discussed, as well as its implications for cancer immunotherapies.

    BIO: Dr. Leyshock is a Research Systems Engineer for the Computational Biology Program, leading data integration projects for several OHSU labs. Leyshock's analytic skills and diverse work experience make him a valuable asset to the Program. A Reed College graduate, Leyshock has earned both an M.A. from Arizona State University and a PhD in Computer Science from Portland State University. His doctoral dissertation research focused on tools and methods for analyzing array­structured scientific data.



    DATE: Friday, Month day, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Vivek Shandas; Jackson Voelkel

    PRESENTATION TITLE: "Ensemble Data Analysis for Assessing Urban Heat Islands in Data Rich and Poor Environments."

    SUMMARY: With ever-increasing populations in urban areas, and major changes to our climate system, a public health imperative is to prepare for dangerous weather events in cities. Extreme weather events, such as heat waves, impact the most vulnerable human populations, and are known to kill more urban dwellers than any other natural disaster. If public health agencies are to prevent excess mortality and morbidity, then identifying those areas and communities most prone to heat stress can provide guidance for timely interventions. Yet we still lack a systematic approach for identifying specific locations where extreme weather events might have profound and fatal impacts on human populations. In two case studies exemplifying data-rich and data-poor regions we aim to created predictive urban heat island (UHI) models. We achieve this with land-use GIS data, Random Forest modeling, and vehicle-mounted GPS-tagged temperature observations. Our models suggest that morning, afternoon, and evening heat distributions have different variables which help to explain the variation in temperatures.

    BIO: Vivek Shandas has an interdisciplinary training that spans the social and biophysical sciences. His research interests focus on understanding the dynamics of socio-ecological systems specifically in cities. Through projects that examine multiple spatial and temporal scales, he aim to characterize, monitor, and model the interactions between humans and the environment. By using qualitative, quantitative, and mixed-methods, the outcomes of his research aims to engage communities in identifying feedbacks among human behavior, environmental change, and human health and well-being. Notable areas of research include, water use behavior among urban residents, urban vegetation and human health, urban ecosystem services, and participatory mapping.

    Jackson Voelkel is a Geospatial Research Analyst at the Sustaining Urban Places Research (SUPR) Lab. One of his main focuses is creating land and urban canopy descriptors from lidar data and developing methodologies for integrating them with planning and sustainability research. He also focuses on the automation of complex workflows, streamlining of bulky processes to ease computational burdens across multiple users, and cartography among an assortment of other geospatial research topics.



    DATE: Friday, February 5, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Antonie Jetter

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Fuzzy Cognitive Maps for Collaborative Modeling: An introduction

    SUMMARY: Fuzzy Cognitive Map Modeling is a system modeling approach that has its roots in social science and artificial intelligence. FCM are comparatively easy to create, are well understood by audiences with limited modeling expertise, and are easy to update to reflect the insights of additional model contributors. Accordingly, FCM modeling is gaining popularity in ecological modeling and collaborative planning. The talk will introduce fundamentals and illustrate the use of FCM with several examples from ongoing research projects.

    BIO: Antonie Jetter is an Associate Professor of Engineering & Technology Management at Portland State University.  She teaches courses on new product development, entrepreneurship, and technology marketing to graduate students in engineering. Her research is focused on new product development, managerial cognition, and decision making and leads to insights and methods for managing the early stages of product innovation. In her dissertation, Antonie has pioneered the use of Fuzzy Cognitive Map as a product planning tool. Ongoing research uses Fuzzy Cognitive Maps to model community risk perceptions, drivers of technology acceptance among elderly patients and their caregivers, and differences in the mental models of product development engineers and product users. Antonie holds an MBA (1998) and a Ph.D. in Technology and Innovation Management (2006) from RWTH Aachen University, Germany and has seven years of industry experience in a large technology firm and a high/tech start up.



    DATE: Friday, February 12, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Andey Nunes

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Systems Science Seminar Discussion Topic: Public Health

    SUMMARY: Andey will lead a discussion of the Carey, et al. 2015 paper titled, “Systems science and systems thinking for public health: a systematic review of the field.” (Citation: Carey G, Malbon E, Carey N, et al. Systems science and systems thinking for public health: a systematic review of the field. BMJ Open 2015;5:e009002. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2015-009002)

    The intention is to highlight the authors’ findings and spark some lively conversation. users can access the paper at:

    BIO: Andey Nunes is a second year Masters student in the Systems Science Program. He is currently pursuing graduate certificate programs in Applied Statistics and Environmental & Resource Economics. Andey holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Studies:Earth Systems Science (emphasis in chemical analysis) from San Francisco State University (2012). His research areas of interest include: industrial ecology, ecosystems services, ecological economics, labor history, and cultures of resistance.



    DATE: Friday, February 19, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Janne Boone-Heinonen, PhD, MPH and Lynne C Messer, PhD, MPH

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Mitigating fetal programming of chronic disease: conceptual framework, initial evidence, and methodological challenges

    SUMMARY: In this seminar, Drs. Boone-Heinonen and Messer will discuss how prenatal development can “program” susceptibility to disease later in life. They will focus on how contextual and behavioral factors can potentially mitigate the long-term effects of adverse fetal programming. They will highlight methodological challenges related to the complexity of this emerging area of investigation. The seminar will close with an interactive discussion about the role of systems science in studying fetal programing mitigation.

    BIO: Dr. Boone-Heinonen’s research investigates early life, behavioral, and environmental determinants of diet, physical activity, and obesity throughout the life course. Dr. Messer is a reproductive/perinatal, social and environmental epidemiologist whose work focuses on the social-environmental causes of persistent health disparities. Both Drs. Boone-Heinonen and Messer use interdisciplinary statistical methods with large population-based cohorts to address methodological challenges in obesity and reproductive epidemiology.



    DATE: Friday, February 26, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Diana Fisher

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Do Student-Built System Dynamics Models Help Students Better Differentiate Between Linear and Exponential Behavior Over Time? Results of a Short Experiment

    SUMMARY: A classroom experiment involving two teachers and four classes (two experimental and two control) of algebra II students at a local high school was performed to determine whether having students build System Dynamics models of linear and exponential scenarios strengthened their understanding of the difference between the growth/decay patterns of these two function types.  Differentiating linear and exponential scenarios seems very basic, yet many high school students do not understand the difference sufficiently, even after weeks of traditional mathematics lessons involving both function types.  

    BIO:  Ms. Fisher is a PhD candidate in System Science at PSU.  She is the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement award, bestowed by the International System Dynamics Society, the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching, and first place recipient of Intel's Innovation in Teaching Award.   She has taught System Dynamics (SD) modeling, both as part of her algebra, pre-calculus, and calculus classes, and also a year-long SD modeling course for over 20 years.  She has provided system dynamics modeling workshops for math and science teachers, sponsored by NASA, as well as designing and directing two National Science Foundation Projects where she taught SD modeling lessons for math, science, and social science teachers, serving as the lead Principal Investigator.  She has published two books in System Dynamics: Lessons in Mathematics: A Dynamic Approach and Modeling Dynamic Systems: Lessons for a First Course. Her first two degrees are in Mathematics.   She offers a sequence of three online SD modeling courses (with graduate credit option) each summer:  Introduction to System Dynamics Modeling for Math and Science Instructors: Basic Models,  More Advanced Models, Creating Original Models from the News.




    DATE: Friday, March 4, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Professor David Maier, Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technologies, Portland State University

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Helping Scientists Connect Their Datasets

    SUMMARY: Scientific datasets associated with a research project can proliferate over time as a result of activities such as sharing datasets among collaborators, extending existing ones with new measurements, and extracting subsets of data for analysis. As such datasets begin to accumulate, it becomes increasingly difficult for a scientist to keep track of their derivation history, which complicates data sharing, provenance tracking, and scientific reproducibility. Understanding what relationships exist between datasets can help scientists recall their original derivation history. For instance, if dataset A is contained in dataset B, then the connection between A and B could be that A was extended to create B.  In our initial work, we developed a set of relevant relationships, proposed the relationship-identification methodology for testing relationships between pairs of datasets, developed a set of algorithms for efficient discovery of these relationships, and organized these algorithms into a new system called ReConnect to assist scientists in relationship discovery. We evaluated existing alternative approaches that rely on flagging differences between two spreadsheets and found that they were impractical for many relationship-discovery tasks. Additionally, a user study showed that ReConnect can improve scientists' ability to detect useful relationships between datasets.  While ReConnect helps with identifying relationships between two datasets, it is infeasible for scientists to use it for determining relationships between all possible pairs in a large collection. In this talk, we introduce an end-to-end prototype system, ReDiscover, that identifies, from a collection of datasets, the pairs that are most likely related. Our preliminarily evaluation shows that ReDiscover can predict selected relationships with high precision and within reasonable computational cost.

    BIO: David Maier is Maseeh Professor of Emerging Technologies at Portland State University. Prior to his current position, he was on the faculty at SUNY Stony Brook and Oregon Graduate Institute. He has spent extended visits with INRIA, University of Wisconsin at Madison, Microsoft Research and National University of Singapore. He is the author of books on relational databases, logic programming and object-oriented databases, as well as many papers in database theory, object-oriented technology, scientific databases and data-stream processing. He received the Presidential Young Investigator Award from the National Science Foundation in 1984 and was awarded the 1997 SIGMOD Innovations Award for his contributions in objects and databases. He is also an ACM Fellow and IEEE Senior Member and serves on the Board on Mathematical Sciences and Their Applications at The National Academies. He holds a dual B.A. in Mathematics and in Computer Science from the University of Oregon (Honors Col lege, 1974) and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from Princeton University (1978).



    DATE: Friday, March 11, 2016, 12:00 - 1:00 PM

    LOCATION: Harder House, Room 104

    PRESENTER: Jonathan Straus

    PRESENTATION TITLE: Toward an Information-Age Paradigm for Integrating Research, Publication and Theory Development in the Social Sciences?

    SUMMARY: The application of the scientific method to social psychology and related disciplines has long been rife with controversies, and recent failures to replicate many of the results from classical psychology experiments prompt continued doubts about the general validity of social scientific theories. I present a framework that attempts to reconcile the interdependent (but often antagonistic) relations between reliability and validity in individual empirical studies, iterative verification and validation of inherently multi-level social phenomena, and how such necessary synergies are suppressed under the current paradigm of research and publishing. Along this vein, we explore some tentative solutions informed by the successes of contemporary knowledge-building projects (including the crowd-sourcing of certain data collection procedures, modular networked ‘wiki’-like pages of related theories and studies, and indexing of experimental replications) that may be incorporated in sensible measures by both small and large publishing institutions.

    BIO: Jonathan Straus is a Master’s Student in the Systems Science Program. He has dabbled in psychology, with a particularly keen interest in experimental social psychology and (more generally) modeling and epistemology in the social sciences



    (past seminar links and records can be found on our Seminar Archive page)