I am a computer scientist and design research practitioner interested in ongoing discovery and planning problems in risk governance, engineering design, and natural resource management.

Current Research Problems

(New and in Development) Restoration Design: Restoration design involves the investment in long-running processes that have impact or cost reducing effects. Restoration design has two characteristics that separate it from earlier work: 1) unlike closed-loop supply chains, restoration design focuses on processes which have a track record of explicitly renewing, upgrading, upcycling, or restoring resources, considering preservation cycles an important, but secondary, supporting activity. 2) Unlike policy solutions to distributed risk problems, restoration design employs solutions which, in addition to addressing broader issues, can be taken unilaterally for eventual local benefits in improved ecosystem services, regional self-sufficiency, and community resilience, but where policy can aide in sharing establishment costs or providing initial resources.

Causal Elicitation: How does even one appropriately elicit scenarios for governing risky situations with multiple stakeholders, when the participants potentially have all kinds of differences in their worldview and shaky grasps on the underlying facts? A related question is how does one represent and display the conflicting accounts emerging from the testimony of multiple stakeholders? This project looks at non-parametric elicitation that looks to capture the causal networks people intuitively hold, and see if they can be used to elicit better predictions and more sensible strategies than merely asking about future outcomes.



Design from the perspective of statistical processes: How do you know when your understanding of potential causal factors is complete enough for engineering or policy? I think that design and ethnography practices teach us to look further than we otherwise might (to bias exploration) and that there is much to learn about how design works from a statistical perspective (similar to recent work in cognitive developmental psychology and the psychology of science). In particular, understanding how to take appropriate priors over non-parametric structures should lead to non-parametric engineering design methods.

Planning across closed-loop supply chains: Closed-loop planning issues interest me because of the temporal effect on values: no matter the social values a given society might determine is appropriate, using up a resource thermodynamically will affect future societies with different social arrangement. This leads to some frighteningly easy decision-theoretic planning, as the difference between perfect recovery versus total depletion tends toward infinity over time. However, rarely are those extremes accurate characterization of the situation at hand.