Barry G. Lawson

Colony Family Professor of Digital and Computational Studies


Digital and Computational Studies

Pettengill Hall, Room G11


I am a computer scientist by training, and spent 19 years on the Computer Science (CS) faculty at the University of Richmond before joining DCS @ Bates in 2021.  I am a first-generation college student, majoring in mathematics at UVA Wise before earning an MS and PhD in CS from William & Mary.  I worked for the Virginia Department of Mines, Minerals, & Energy as an undergraduate, and in the Flight Simulation Systems Laboratory at NASA Langley while in graduate school.  I taught courses across the entire undergraduate CS curriculum while at Richmond, and in DCS here at Bates have taught DCS 109, 211, 229, and 307.

My current research focuses on simulation and modeling, specifically using agent-based models in biological, ecological, and epidemiological contexts.  In my most recent work, with Dr. April Hill and Dr. Malcolm Hill (both at Bates) and Dr. Wes Cain (Harvard), we have designed and implemented a detailed agent-based model (in Python) of sponge:algae symbioses, with implications to immediate issues such as sponge and coral bleaching.  I also work with Dr. Larry Leemis (William & Mary) in advancing simulation education through workshops and through a freely-available R package.  I also have prior research experience in computer security, in performance analysis of high-performance computing systems, and in collaborative work with social psychologists using mindset research within CS education.

I was a baseball player as an undergraduate, and continued playing semi-pro with the Fredericksburg (VA) Baseball Club throughout graduate school.  Since then, I have turned my focus to music, and play mandolin-family instruments, guitar, bass, and open-back banjo.  I have recorded, performed, and/or toured with The Honey Dewdrops, Kent Ippolito, Gene & Gayla Mills, Mill Run, and Bill Evans (banjo, not piano!), and have also performed as part of several Richmond, VA based bands, including The Lesser Halves (a Wilco cover-band), The Demijohns, and Faculty Lounge.

I’m also an animal lover, and enjoy outdoor activities (hiking, biking, kayaking).