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Predicting how systems will behave

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February 6, 2017,
DARPA Conference Center
DARPA’s Information Innovation Office (I2O) will host a Proposers Day on February 6, 2017, to provide information to potential proposers on the new Computational Simulation of Online Social Behavior (SocialSim) program. SocialSim will seek to develop innovative technologies for high-fidelity computational simulation of online social behavior. The program will focus specifically on information spread and evolution.
The social sciences can play important roles in assisting military planners and decision-makers who are trying to understand complex human social behaviors and systems, potentially facilitating a wide range of missions including humanitarian, stability, and counter-insurgency operations. Current social science approaches to studying behavior rely on a variety of modeling methods—both qualitative and quantitative—which seek to make inferences about the causes of social phenomena on the basis of observations in the real-world. Yet little is known about how accurate these methods and models really are, let alone whether the connections they observe and predict are truly matters of cause and effect or mere correlations.
What is opaque to outsiders is often obvious – even if implicit – to locals. Habitus aims to capture and make local knowledge available to military operators, providing them with an insider view to support decision making.
Military and civilian organizations have deep interest in human performance optimization (HPO). A key challenge for optimizing human performance, however, is the “tyranny of averages:” a common experimental approach that uses between-subject outcomes and group averages (means) to make conclusions about the efficacy of a given intervention.
Program Manager
Dr. Fotis Barlos joined DARPA in January 2017 as a program manager in the Strategic Technology Office (STO). Dr. Barlos' interests include data analytics, computational science, and planning technologies.