News 2021: Professor Dan Braha gives keynote address at The Design Society Seminar Series
Professor Dan Braha gives keynote address at The Design Society Seminar Series

Decision and Information Sciences professor spoke about the complex design network theory

Dan Braha, PhD
Commonwealth Professor Dan Braha, Ph.D.

Dan Braha, a Commonwealth Professor of Decision and Information Sciences in the Charlton College of Business, presented a keynote address on complex design network theory for the Design Society’s Seminar Series Monday, Nov. 15.

“It was a great honor to be included among previous eminent members of the community and give this keynote talk to reflect on my work and career,” said Braha.

The Design Society, established in 2000, is an interdisciplinary community of academics and industry practitioners with the goal of developing and promoting a robust, usable, and scalable means of designing complex solutions that a sustainable and globalized society needs to thrive in the 21st century.

Braha has previously presented his work as keynote and plenary speaker in high-profile international conferences and symposiums, including by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, the MIT System Design and Management (SDM) Systems Thinking, the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Society, the RAND Corporation, and General Electric Global Research.

Beginning in 2003, Braha embarked on a new interdisciplinary area of design science, with the main objective to characterize the real-world structure and dynamics of complex design networks. To this end, he has introduced novel methodologies for understanding the critical role of iterations in design, as well as the functionality, dynamics, robustness, and fragility of large-scale engineering networks. This approach applies data-driven theoretical and computational models and tools of operations research, computer science, sociology, statistical physics, and computational biology.

“The emerging science of complex networks is the key to solving some of our society’s greatest challenging problems; combating global epidemics, terrorism, solving our global supply chain problems, and environmental and ecological crises," said Braha. "I was fortunate to take part in the development of the field, particularly as it pertains to the design of large-scale engineering systems and understanding networks that change over time.”

Braha’s passion for research is evenly matched with his passion for teaching, where he was honored to receive the Thomas J. Higginson Award for Excellence in Teaching at the Charlton College of Business five times, as well as the 2019 Walter Cass Faculty Recognition Award, presented by UMass Dartmouth. 

“I have been teaching Complex Systems thinking and Complex Networks Theory nationally and internationally for over 15 years,” said Braha. “Recently, I piloted an undergraduate course on complex networks at the Charlton College of Business. This is the first time, at any university, that this exciting topic is taught at a business school. I have strong conviction that the leaders of tomorrow should think in terms of complex systems and networks, and I hope our UMassD graduates will apply these ideas in their career.”      

To learn more about complex networks and Dr. Braha’s work, you may visit his personal webpage here, and watch his presentation with the Design Society below.