EmilyMy name is David and I am currently a PhD candidate in the Murillo Lab at MSU. My research interests focus mostly on agent-based modeling, but I am interested in machine learning, high-performance computing, and visualization.  Outside of work I like running, kayaking, and roller blading. All of which can be done here in Michigan.

Ongoing Research:

  1. Chronic Wasting Disease management: I am currently working with researchers in the Fisheries and Wildlife department at MSU on building an agent-based model to simulate deer with the goal of testing management strategies for Chronic Wasting Disease . CWD is a degenerative disease in white-tailed deer caused by misfolded proteins called prions.  Deer who are infected have a 100% mortality rate and their is no known cure for CWD. This leaves hunting and culling as the primary management strategies.
  2. City-wide evacuation planning: I am a summer graduate research assistant at Los Alamos National Lab. While I am there, I work on creating agent-based simulation tools for planning city-wide evacuations due to multifaceted emergencies. These simulation tools model the road network of an entire city and each individual in the city, as well as each component of the emergency situation. For example a forest fire has both the fire itself, and smoke that will effect decisions.
  3. ABM toolkits: Most of work has been done in Python, and currently only one library, Mesa, exists for quickly creating ABMs in Python. I am looking to advance the Python tools available to help more researchers to quickly be able to implement ABMs of their own in Python.


  • BS, Physics with Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE) minor, August 2014 – May 2018
    Michigan State University, Michigan, United States
  • PhD, Computational Mathematics, Science and Engineering (CMSE),
    August 2018 – Present
    Michigan State University, Michigan, United States


  1. Butts, David J., Noelle E. Thompson, Sonja A. Christensen, David M. Williams, and Michael S. Murillo. “Data-driven agent-based model building for animal movement through Exploratory Data Analysis.” Ecological Modelling 470 (2022): 110001.
  2. Previously I explored high performance computing in Python, specifically using Numba. I have done two studies which can be found here and here