Tuan Pham

penguinsfly

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Hello people of the internet!

Who am I?

I grew up in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. I then moved to the US for college at Lehigh University in a little town called Bethlehem. There I majored in Behavioral Neuroscience and started falling in love with computational neuroscience research under Dr. Julie Haas’ supervision. After that, I moved to University of Chicago for my MSc in Computational Neuroscience working with Dr. Christian Hansel’s lab to explore potential computational benefits of intrinsic plasticity in neuronal computation.

What I’m about is …

I am interested in a bunch of things. Generally, math, dealing with data and visualization. More specifically, the study of complex and dynamical systems, network science, as well as their application to neuroscience and, more recently, social science. Reading about concepts like topology, chaos vs. order, and ways of finding & comparing patterns always excites me.

Regarding neuroscience, I’m fascinated by the idea of change in neural systems (probably inspired heavily by my first advisor), such as different neural plasticity mechanisms, on neural computation, robustness and network structures. I like to work with models and simulations to understand plasticity effects, and neuroscience in general. I also enjoy testing out ideas inspired from machine learning to understand computation in neural networks. It’s so perplexing to me that such systems, biological and artificial, have such insane adaptation and generalization capability, especially the ones with so many constraints.

In addition, hopefully more well-versed one day, I’ve been interested in the theoretical perspectives and implications of computational social science for some time now. I enjoy reading about different phenomena like opinion dynamics, echo chambers and collaboration structures in social networks. These topics are becoming (dangerously) more relevant, worrisome and increasingly more complex. I’m very excited to see how the future crisis science for collective behavior research, including application to social science, shapes our understanding the world, and the world itself.

On a side note, I really like making graphics illustration (though pretty much an amateur) and data visualization - I find toying with colors and shapes really comforting and satisfying. I enjoy telling stories about data, and am always excited to learn techniques to reveal their secrets & convey their messages to the world through visualization (and maybe one day through other senses as well).

I’m also a big believer of open-source philosophy in both technology and science - I think we could use more of it and I am hoping one day to contribute to the open source community.

What’s up with penguinsfly?

I have no idea … I’ve had that phrase stuck in my brain for a while for some odd reasons.