Research Interests

My general research theme can be summarized as being at the intersection of the social and computer sciences, the qualitative and the quantitative, the individual and the system, the micro and the macro, the deterministic and the stochastic. Those are not equivalent themes, of course, but I find the tension between two competing forces to almost always be of interest.
Interestingly, career-wise I’ve chosen a line of research that represents the intersecting areas between two fields, namely agent-based simulations and social network analysis (including its descendant, network science).
Within that intersection I find problems that intersect the natural/physical science view often represented by network science (complex networks) and the classical view – social network analysis (broadly speaking constructed by computational sociologists et. al.) – to be of interest. In layman terms, I enjoy understanding the node and I enjoy knowing more about the experience of that node under certain system-level conditions. Most importantly, the interplay between them is of significant interest to me.
In terms of domain specialty I lean much more towards public policy in two main areas: economic and taxation policy and defense and security policy.
I often ask the question: how will the data, methods, assumptions and encompassing analysis translate into particular policies or interventions. In the past I’ve applied that to a few different areas and currently there are several more, but it looks like my natural tendencies are towards policy testing as a field rather than having a classical domain-specific research direction.
That is – reach out to me when you’d like to understand the ramifications and/or unintended consequences of a particular policy because it seems as though that is where my natural abilities are found.
If you’d like to see a full accounting of active and past papers papers and presentations, I’d recommend you connect with me on or You can also grab a quick look at my Orcid record.
Data Science + Data Aggregation = Methodology

Shaheen, J. A. E. (2019). Emerging the U.S. Firm Size Distribution Using 4.2 Billion Individual Tax Records. 12th International RAIS Conference on Social Sciences and Humanities, 74–82.

Geographic Information Systems + Agent-based Modeling = Optimization

This is an area of recent interest. It began when I decided to model a ride sharing service (Uber or Lyft) in the Washington, DC area, and began to like the process of modeling GIS systems. There’s some interesting work being done in this area, mainly in the autonomous vehicle area, so I plan to continue my work in this area.

Shaheen, J. A. E. (2018). Simulating the Ridesharing Economy: The Individual Agent Metro-Washington Area Ridesharing Model. Retrieved from

Terrorism and Extremism + Social Network Analysis + Network Science = Threat Management

Shaheen, J. A. E. (2016). Reproduction of a Social Media Network Using an Agent-based Model: The Case of ISIS/ISIL/Daesh. International Network for Social Network Analysis First North American Network Conference, 1–17. Washington, DC.

Shaheen, J. A. E. (2015). Network of Terror: How Daesh Uses Adaptive Social Networks To Spread its Message. In NATO Stratcom Centre of Excellence (Vol. 1). Retrieved from

Firms as Biological Creatures + Statistical Models = Complex Adaptive Systems

Shaheen, J. A. E. (2019). Data Explorations in Firm Dynamics: Firm Birth, Life, & Death Through Age, Wage, Size & Labor. George Mason University.

I’m also interested in economic networks, big data, and information theory.