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Wolfram Summer School

June 24–July 14, 2018
Bentley University, Waltham, MA


Matthias Hansal

Class of 2013


Originally from Germany, Matthias Hansal is currently a senior undergraduate studying Political Science and Economics at Sciences Po Paris and Université de Lorraine in France. His primary studies include history, international relations, and law, with a focus on political science, while his secondary studies are centered on economics. He is finishing his bachelor programs in China and is planning to graduate with a master's degree in Economics and Public Policy.

Learning languages and getting to know other cultures are as much of a passion as debate and reading. Provided with the necessary motivation, he also enjoys sports, including sailing (in particular laser), windsurfing, and running. Since 2010 he occasionally works on small-scale freelance IT projects in a longstanding fascination with computer technology. He enjoys interdisciplinary research and is extremely excited about the immense potential of Mathematica and using NKS in the coming years for system research and prospects of formalization in political science.

Project: Can Governments Effectively Steer Their Economies?

Economics is the only field in which two people can share a Nobel Prize for saying opposing things. Governments, however, have been trying to control various types of economies with numerous goals, ranging from growth targets to normative redistribution.

Different types of economies (free market economies, command economies, and mixed economies) may require distinct political intervention. Intervention is to be understood as deliberate adjustments to an economic evolution at specific steps with the goal of controlling their outcome. While command economies are based on centralized control mechanisms at each step of economic decision-making, free market economies operate without such exogenous intervention.

As this introduction then suggests, economic models have not been able to produce accurate outcomes of how governmental interventions affect economic evolution. This research project will consider a general systems study, based on Cellular Automatons, to analyze system evolution with intervention of external control. Cellular Automatons are particularly suitable for this task, because they evolve according to inherent rules, creating an inherent systematic behavior of their own. The essential question will become how much and what type of insertion of outside information a Cellular Automaton needs to be forced to produce a distinctive behavior. With insertion of outside information, specific cells will be changed in a row, as to observe how much and what changes to the produced output are needed to reproduce a designated behavior. The underlying question is, can governments effectively steer their economies, on what basis, and to what extent?

Favorite Four-Color, Four State Turing Machine

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