MURI grant awarded to study network science of teams

June 12, 2015

A multi-university team that includes three professors from the University of California, Santa Barbara, has been awarded a five-year grant, totaling more than $6 million from the Department of Defense’s (DOD) Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program.

The grant is for a project on developing quantitative network-based models of adaptive team behavior. The Principal Investigator is Ambuj Singh, Chair of the Department of Computer Science at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB). Two other PIs from UCSB are Francesco Bullo (Chair, Mechanical Engineering) and Noah Friedkin (Sociology). The other PIs are Tarek Abdelzaher (UIUC), Kayla de la Haye (USC), Thomas Malone (MIT), and Brian Uzzi (Northwestern). The multidisciplinary team has a record of innovative research in sociology, cognitive and social psychology, behavioral sciences, machine learning, data mining, statistics, controls and dynamical systems, and network science.

The project’s fundamental theories and empirically proven quantitative models of team performance will help the design of optimal teams and improve the performance of existing ones. The research will develop a broad set of strategies for creating successful teams, based on the characteristics of individual members, network structures, and emergent groups. It will also identify processes that can be used to activate networks or enable the emergence of optional interaction patterns for a given set of individuals or teams, to improve performance over time and across a variety of tasks.

The Department of Defense (DOD) recently announced 22 awards totaling $149 million over the next five years to academic institutions to perform multidisciplinary basic research. The Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative (MURI) program supports research by teams of investigators that intersect more than one traditional science and engineering discipline in order to accelerate research progress.

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