Alexander Gates

Making Simple Models

Program: Ph.D. In Informatics and Cognitive Science

Hometown: Ossining, New York

Best of IU: Accomplished faculty lends unique perspectives


When something piques Alexander Gates’ interest, he sticks to it. In pursuit of a joint Ph.D. in Informatics and Cognitive Science, Alexander studies how natural systems use simple methods to solve very complex problems.

“Here at SICE, we use simple toy-models to develop the correct theoretical tools and generate an intuition about system behaviors,” he says.

Gates chose SICE because he knew the accomplished faculty would lend a unique perspective on the role technology plays in the world. “There are also fantastic resources here at the SICE, including access to world-class supercomputers and information technologies,” Alexander says.

Gates has enjoyed his SICE research experiences and is pursuing his doctorate degree with the goal of becoming a professor and continuing to explore, teach, and conduct research.

Alexander says he values the student community and leadership opportunities presented by SICE and encourages any prospective students to engage in conversations with faculty or staff, regardless of their specialty.  His program advisor, Professor of Computer Science and Informatics Randy Beer, has had a particular impact on his SICE experience.

“He has been a great mentor in my time here at IU.  He has encouraged me to pursue my interdisciplinary interests and helped me to make the connections I needed to excel,” Alexander says.