University of Pittsburgh
May 21, 2018

Pitt School of Computing and Information Announces Modeling and Managing Complicated Systems Institute


PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh School of Computing and Information founding dean Paul Cohen announced the launch of the Modeling and Managing Complicated Systems (MoMaCS) Institute Monday during the school’s Modeling the World Systems Conference in Downtown Pittsburgh.

Cohen, a former program manager in the Information Innovation Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), said the institute is designed to serve as the hub where researchers and stakeholders from across all disciplines in academia, industry, foundations and government come to collaborate on projects that utilize the power of computer modeling and simulation.

“The MoMaCS Institute at the University of Pittsburgh will be deliberately disruptive,” said Chancellor Patrick Gallagher. “It will leverage the latest tools in artificial intelligence and machine learning to help us to understand and utilize complex systems in new, exciting and life-changing ways.”  

Members of the institute will work with computer scientists to use artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to analyze massive data sets, then use the results of those analyses to model real-world scenarios through simulation. The idea is to apply the practice to solving large-scale problems such as the opioid epidemic, climate change, global poverty and disease eradication. 

“I guess I was one of those people who thought the world was too complicated to model until I got to DARPA. Then we started to develop AI technologies to build models of cancer, to build models of food insecurity,” said Cohen in a video discussing the institute. “No human can read 200,000 journal articles, but a machine can.”


The institute is another step in SCI’s ultimate goal to introduce students and researchers from across the University to methods of enhancing their work with computer modeling and to build an international reputation as the go-to institution for modeling complex systems.

“If you understand the world that you’re in, you can design interventions to make it a better world. That’s what we’re aiming for,” said Cohen.