Welcome to the Paul Johnson Homepage.

Here's my 2012 revival of my old favorite webpage. I've tried to replace this with a more coherent style system, using various CMS and Wiki systems during the last 4 years. Most recently I tried Drupal, which was awful. It might be a good way to force 10000 users to generate identical looking pages, but it is a horrible way for one user to try to make several pages that are not all identical.

On the right, the "dock" offers clickable links to class-related stuff!

        Research Statement
When I started at KU, my research was pretty tightly focused on interest group politics. My political interests have broadened to include electoral institutions and public opinion. Most of the stuff I do has lots of equations and formulae in it, and it is painfully difficult to explain to relatives what I do for a living.

Over the years, I've cultivated new research interests in computer programming and the development of software for simulation and statistical analysis. Perhaps they cultivated me, I'm not sure. When the World Wide Web came into being, I decided it was important to create a homepage for my department, even before my University had one. Later, I was drawn into software development by the growth of "complex systems" as a field of academic research. In the late 1990s, I decided I wanted to write agent-based simulation models. That took me on a long detour to learn about software development. I started working with the group that was developing Swarm, a "software toolkit" for multi-agent simulations, which was originated by Chris Langton and the Swarm Team at the Santa Fe Institute. I worked on models about public opinion, the stock market and ballet dancing. After that, I found I had enough background in programming to help in most research projects, including the administration of compute clusters, web data collection, and secure data management.

Because I'm a teacher by nature, I feel compelled to tell other people how they can do it too. My operating principle has been that, if we just tell people one way to make things work, and don't bother them at the outset with all kinds of complicated possibilities and details, then we will have happy computer users. I started showing people how to use the IBM mainframe with a program called CMS. Then I started helping people with Windows and winsock applications (remember the happy days of dial-up in Windows 3.1?). Then we got a Novell server in Blake Hall and I administered that for a while. Then we got a Win2000 server. And that was the last straw for me. MS Windows is fundamentally bad, unstable, and explotiative. I started to tout the the Linux operating system, a unix-clone that runs on PCs. My newest pass time is the development of user-interactive web sites and web programs. I want to enable users to put in their "content" without knowing a lot of web programming detail and without any special software. Two avenues for this are the WikiWiki Web philosophy (I've got TWiki driving the some documentation) and and database-backed CGI script for organizational roster and bibliography collection. These are driven by various editions of the Vita Builder program that I've made available.)

Click Here
for Classes
POLS 110 U.S. Politics homepage/ftp site
POLS 616 homepage/ftp site.
POLS 608 Web site: syllabus, exercises, etc.
POLS 707 FTP site: syllabus, exercises, etc.
Agent-based Modeling

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