Aaron Clauset

Professor, Computer Science
Core Faculty, BioFrontiers Institute
Affiliated Faculty, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology
Affiliated Faculty, Applied Mathematics
Affiliated Faculty, Information Science
Affiliated Faculty, Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering
University of Colorado at Boulder, and

External Faculty, Santa Fe Institute

Brief Biography

I came to the University of Colorado at Boulder from the Santa Fe Institute where I was an Omidyar Fellow. I completed my doctoral work in Computer Science at the University of New Mexico, under Cristopher Moore.

My undergraduate days were spent at Haverford College, where I studied physics and computer science, dabbled in the social sciences, and was an active member of student government. Some of my fondest memories are from my time at Haverford, where there was never a shortage of intelligent or ambitious people with whom to interact. As a result, I am a strong supporter of the small liberal arts college experience, and particularly so for their role in science education.

Research Interests

My research interests are broad. My past and current interests aim to understand the quantitative structure and function of social and biological networks, the structure and dynamics of the scientific ecosystem itself, the mechanisms that shape patient outcomes in ovarian cancer and the statistics of structural variants in the genome, evolutionary biology and the processes that shape morphological diversity, and the dynamics of violent political conflict.
These disparate areas are unified by a central interest in understanding the origins and implications of large-scale structural regularities, particularly in social and biological systems where contingency and uncertainty play important roles, and in the development of computational methods for elucidating them from messy, real-world data. My research involves both data analysis and computational modeling. This leads me to care a lot about statistical epistemology, computational thinking, comparing models and real-world data, and other epistemological questions.


Interspersed throughout my time in academia, I've spent time working or consulting in the pharmceutical, financial, intelligence and advertising industries, mainly developing statistical methods for making accurate predictions in real-world systems. This interest in practical solutions to practical problems keeps me connected with more immediate concerns, and it ocassionally informs my own research. Not all of my interests find an outlet in research, however (perhaps because many of them lay pretty far outside my actual expertises), and these instead often serve as material for my blog.

On a more personal note, I am an avid traveler, and have enjoyed visiting 49 of the states (just Alaska to go), as well as about 30 foreign countries on 5 continents.