David J. Butts

My research interests are in building Agent Based Models (ABM) and visualization IMG_3221techniques for such models.

Ongoing Research:

  1. Models of Malaria, specifically, have been published since 1908 starting with Sir Ronald Ross. A lot of these models are mathematical models which cannot as easily model certain interactions. For example, interactions between the environment and mosquitos. A history of Malaria modeling can be found here.  I am interested in creating an ABM to model Malaria to be able to take into account interactions that are glossed over in mathematical models.
  2. Influenza infects tens of millions of Americans yearly. Using compartmental models researchers can try to model ways to prevent infections through drugs and vaccinations. I am interested in creating mathematical models of influenza that I can use to build ABMs of influenza.
  3. ABMs can also be much more visual than mathematical models. While they run, they can produce a video of the agents in a world moving and interacting, as well as produce graphs of important data at each time step in the model. I am interested in being able to run ABMs in a three-dimensional world that a user could move through to view as it is running.
  4. Recently I have been interested in high performance Python, specifically using Numba. I have done two studies which can be found here and here!


  • 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