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!

        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 like to find out how things work, then show other people. 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. I was running Windows NT at the time, but some projects required Linux programming tools instead. I started to tout the the Linux operating system, a unix-clone that runs on PCs. For programming and statistical analysis, I've found Linux to allow quite a bit more creativity. In our computer lab, we have workstations that dual boot between Linux and Windows. I notice the GRAs are generally on the Linux side.

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