Who I Am
Hello, dear blog readers! My name is Evan Kozierok. I am a rising sophomore in Pitt’s School of Computing and Information, and a proud and excited member of the Brackenridge Fellowship. I am currently only majoring in Computer Science, but that is very likely to change in the future because there are so many interesting things in the world like mathematics, political science, and other exciting fields. On campus I am loosely involved with a number of wonderful groups including the Musical Theatre Club, the Pitt Men’s Glee Club, and the RollPlayers. And, although most of my tie-dye shirts are unfortunately in storage somewhere in Pittsburgh, I can assure you that they are somewhat of an obsession and have been since I was three years old. I am originally from the exciting state of Vermont, but now live in New Hampshire; it’s New England left and right.
What I’m Doing
My research project involves comparing various types of computational and mathematical modeling frameworks. Two of the frameworks – Agent-Based Models (ABMs) and Ordinary Differential Equation (ODE) models – have been employed very frequently in modeling our complex world. The third is a new framework called Probabilistic Relational Agent-Based Models (PRAMs) which hopes to draw upon some of the strength of the foundations laid by ABMs and ODEs. It is currently being developed by Drs. Paul Cohen and Tomek Loboda, who also happen to be my wonderful research mentors.
The hope for my research this summer is that I will be able to convert models between these three frameworks using an automatic conversion tool written in the programming language Python. It is, however, very likely that not every model is representable in all frameworks – part of my work will be to understand under what conditions conversion either isn’t possible or isn’t actually useful and to deduce some strengths and weaknesses of each framework. In the process of this, I also hope to contribute to the PRAM project to make it a more efficient and fully-fleshed system, allowing it to model larger and more complex systems. The world is always seeking answers, and while no one model can predict the future, the more tools that we have for modeling, the greater our chances of landing near the truth.
What I’m Planning for Later
Truth be told, I’m still not entirely sure what I plan to do following my undergraduate studies. I am still exploring my options regarding entry into an industry position, doing further research, and continuing formal education in graduate school. I am hoping that participating in the Brackenridge Fellowship will give me a better understanding of what research in the computer science community looks and feels like, and to give me the experience of working on a more substantial independent project than I am used to. In the future I hope to also gain internship experience and figure out which aspects of industry and research I find meaningful and combine them in a productive way. Regarding graduate school, I have been considering the 5-year combined BS+MS program in CS here at Pitt, although any final decision on that will be a little bit later in my college career.
For now, I’m excited to start working with this group of wonderful, talented people beside me!