Field Course in Computational

Wild animals at Mpala Research Centre.

Welcome to the website for the Field Course in Computational Ecology! On this page you can find the important information about the course. To learn more, use the menu on the left side of the page.


Tanya Berger-Wolf (UIC)
Jason Leigh (UIC)
Daniel Rubenstein (Princeton)
Iain Couzin (Princeton)

Course Description

A unique highly integrated field course is offered in Kenya (at the Mpala Research Centre) where US biology (PhD from Princeton University) and engineering students (PhD from UIC) will work with faculty in both disciplines to learn how to ask questions, frame hypotheses and understand how and why the disciplines and cultures do this differently.

The course will consist of three stages:

  1. Interdisciplinary background preparation during the Fall 2011 semester, where students will learn the key concepts and approaches from biology, computer science, and engineering.
  2. Project design and field work in Kenya, at Mpala Research Centre from January 5, 2012 to January 24, 2012.
  3. Project implementation and integration during the Spring 2012 semester, culminating in a conference of student presentations.
This is a highly integrated interdisciplinary field course that builds on the success of a pilot course conducted in an abbreviated format in Spring 2010.

The course is funded by National Science Foundation Award Number 1152895.

Images from field research in Kenya in Spring 2010.


Level Topic Instructors
I, X Introduction to population biology and ecology Dan Rubenstein (P), Mosheh Wolf (UIC), Joel Brown (UIC)
A Game theory and population dynamics Dan Rubenstein (P), Mosheh Wolf (UIC), Joel Brown (UIC)
A, X Behavioral ecology and social interaction Dan Rubenstein (P), Mosheh Wolf (UIC), Joel Brown (UIC)
I Computational thinking Tanya Berger-Wolf (UIC), Sanjeev Arora (P)
A Collective behavior Iain Couzin (P)
A Agent-based modeling Moira Zellner (UIC)
A, X Network analysis Tanya Berger-Wolf (UIC)
I, X Machine learning, statistical analysis, and data mining Barbara Di Eugenio (UIC), Bryan Pardo (Northwestern)
I, X Visualization Jason Leigh (UIC), Andrew Johnson (UIC)


  • I: Introductory version of the topic given to out-of-discipline students.
  • X: Advanced version of the topic given to in-discipline students.
  • A: Version of the topic taught to all students.
Potential instructors are indicated next to each topic.

Schedule and Videos

Date Topic Lecturer Video
09/28 [UIC] Introduction to Ecology Mosheh Wolf (UIC) Video
10/05 [Princ + UIC] Computational Ecology Tanya Berger-Wolf (UIC) Video
10/12 [Princ] Computational Problem Solving Sanjeev Arora (P) Video
10/19 [Princ] Limits of computation
[UIC] Evolutionary game thoery and population dynamics
Sanjeev Arora (P)
Dan Rubenstein (P)

10/26 [Princ + UIC] Machine Learning 1 Rajmonda Sulo Video
11/02 [UIC] Machine Learning 2 Rajmonda Sulo Video
11/09 [Princ + UIC] Sociality and network analysis Dan Rubenstein (P)
Tanya Berger-Wolf (UIC)
11/16 [Princ + UIC] Netwok analysis Dan Rubenstein (P)
Tanya Berger-Wolf (UIC)
11/23 [Princ + UIC] Collective Decision Making (and agent based modeling) Iain Couzin (P) Video
11/30 [Princ + UIC] Visualization Jason Leigh (UIC)
Khairi Reda (UIC)
12/07 Past Projects in the Course    
12/07 Mpala and the Area    

Watch all the videos on the course's YouTube Channel.

Topic revision: r1 - 2014-11-09 - 05:46:04 - Main.tanyabw
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