Welcome to the Paul Johnson Homepage.

I still think this is the neatest Web design I've developed. It was way back in 1998 or so. This was supposed to look like my computer, running the WindowMaker window manager. I've tried other front pages, but always come back to this, my favorite. I'll update photos soon. Some of those are 20 years old.

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

   Personal Narrative
I work as a data scientist in the Machine Learning Lab at H&R Block. Before that, I had a brief stint at TeraCrunch, Inc. For most of my adult life, I worked as a professor of political science at the University of Kansas.

When I began as a professor, my academic projects used statistics and game theory to explore elections and political organizations. My interests veered toward computer programming. I grew as a programmer along with the internet. It created avenues for creative expression (web pages) and information exchange that changed everything. We were able to exchange software, and even entire operating systems in ways that we scarcely could imagine.

Over the years, I wrote programs in SAS, Pascal, C, Objective-C, R, Mathematica, Perl, Python, and Java. I don't recall saying, "I want to learn language X," but I was always eager to learn a language if it allowed me to participate in research projects. Around 1996, I became very interested in the academic new wave known as "complex systems" analysis. I participated in software development with the Swarm Development Group at the Santa Fe Institute. They helped me get started as a Unix/Linux user and system administrator. During that time, I became a software packager, creating packages for RedHat and Debian Linux systems.

In 2009, I realized I was not interested in teaching political science anymore. That's not great for a professor, as you might expect. KU started a Center for Research Methods and Data Analysis, where I found a natural outlet for my interests (as Associate Director). We did consulting on many kinds of statistical and mathematical models. I set up a cluster computer (and learned to make ethernet cords in the process!). We raised funds for the Center by conducting research contracts with state and federal agencies. In 2013, I became the director in that Center. In jest I say that I served "6 years on a 5 year term" and in 2019 I was ready to leave the university. My favorite accomplishments in that time were the R packages 'kutils', 'stationery', 'rockchalk', and 'semTable'.

I was eager to work in the private sector, but had some difficulty figuring out how to make the move. My academic curriculum vita was, well, useless. In the end, my social network picked me up! Friends in the KC data science community pointed me toward opportunities and coached me on self-presentation. The folks at TeraCrunch gave me an opportunity to work on projects from beginning to end, crafting proposals, setting up data bases, and writing research reports. I became an administrator of their Azure web computing resources, which was entirely new to me. After that, my friends at H&R Block had a job opening at just the right time. We work on many kinds of projects; I'm never short on new tools to learn.

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

Document last modified