John T. Murphy

John T. Murphy, Ph.D. is a research associate professor in the Department of Anthropology. He is also an archaeologist and a computational social scientist who specializes in agent-based modeling of social behavior and socio-environmental interaction. He is currently a co-PI for the Sustainable Urban/Regional Modeling Network (SUReNet) funded by the Illinois Innovation Network in conjunction with colleagues from the University of Illinois Chicago. He is also a lead for the DARPA "SocialSim" project, a four-year project that examines patterns and strategies of disinformation campaigns on social media platforms.


Murphy’s main area of research lies in modeling behavioral change with respect to resource use, especially water, and in understanding the long-term trajectories of regions encompassing rural and urban areas through time. His current major research effort is an MS undertaken with colleagues from the IHOPE network of archaeologists, to be entitled If the past teaches, what does the future learn? Ancient Urban Regions and the Durable Future.

Selected Publications

Murphy, John T., Mark Altaweel, Jonathan Ozik, and Richard B. Lammers. Understanding Institutions for Water Allocation and Exchange: Insights from Dynamic Agent‐based Modeling. WIREs Water 6, no. 6 (November 2019).

Nelson, Michael France, John T. Murphy, Christopher Bone, and Mark Altaweel. Cyclic Epidemics, Population Crashes, and Irregular Eruptions in Simulated Populations of the Mountain Pine Beetle, Dendroctonus Ponderosae. Ecological Complexity 36 (December 2018): 218–29.

Murphy, John T. Complexity Theory. Oxford University Press (February 28, 2017)


  • Computational Engineer - Global Security Sciences Division of the Energy and Global Security Directorate, Argonne National Laboratory
  • Fellow - University of Chicago Consortium for Advanced Science and Engineering (CASE)
  • Fellow - Northwestern-Argonne Institute for Science and Engineering (NAISE)
  • Managing Director - Studio for Augmented Collaboration visualization laboratory hosted by DIS.
  • Member - Society for American Archaeology
  • Member - American Anthropological Association
  • Editor - Quarterly Digest of the Network of Computational Modeling in Socio-Environmental Sciences (CoMSES-NET)

Honors Faculty Fellow (2021-2022)

As an Honors Faculty Fellow, Professor Murphy will teach a seminar on Data and Power: Social Science in a Digital World, in fall 2021 in the University Honors Program. The Honors Faculty Fellowship program identifies faculty eager to teach innovative, exciting seminars of interest to highly-motivated students from across the university.


  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of Arizona
  • M.A., Education, Ohio State University