Alex Chen

Alex Chen is a rising sophomore at Yale College, double majoring in Computer Science and Ethics, Politics & Economics.

As a JURIST Digital Scholar, Alex will focus his research on how agent-based models (ABMs) can be used in policing reform efforts.

Alex first discovered ABMs, a class of computational models used to simulate the actions of autonomous agents, in high school, when he created a community-building simulator. It was very ugly, but he thought it was super cool. Excited by their potential to illuminate complex social dynamics, Alex was nevertheless wary. He noticed that many police organizations used ABMs to fight crime, but that few to none acknowledged the risk they posed of perpetuating oppression and inequality, embodying a callousness that he is, frankly, really tired of.

Alex realized that ABMs could help to explain why some police reforms work and others do not, particularly because ABMs excel at identifying underlying micro-processes within systems. So he has decided to create an ABM framework for modeling police reform efforts! He hopes to engage in meticulous scientific analysis without losing sight of the deep human impact of such an important issue.

Alex is from NYC, his favorite color is traffic-cone orange, and his favorite animal is the pigeon!