Jain Award Winner Announced
Posted: February 16, 2012
From left: Sahil Jain, Affonso Reis and David Kendrick
The Department of Economics is pleased to announce that Affonso Reis has been selected as the inaugural winner of the Jain Award for Best Computational Economics Paper. Reis was chosen as the first recipient of the award for his paper “Agent-based Modeling in MATLAB: Demographic Simulations with Power Competition, Combat-Fearing Agents, Reallocation Costs and Finite Natural Resources”.
According to Reis, agent-based modeling has been at the forefront of economic research “because it allows investigators to design a ‘lab’ within the computer, programming agents to behave according to certain hypothesis and observing their behavior in a complex adaptive system, such as the labor or financial markets. [Reis’] work focuses in developing a model of dynamic geographic allocation of population groups along a given landscape, dealing with several human characteristic such as preoccupation with an uncertain future and power struggles.”
Though he is slated to graduate in May 2013 with a double major in economics and mathematics, Reis expects to continue his academic career. He plans to pursue a Ph.D. in economics and says that he can envision himself one day engaging in research that both contributes to the wellbeing of people and advances economic science.
About the Jain Award
The Jain Award was established in 2011 by alumnus Sahil Jain to commemorate the best final paper in ECO 363C Computational Economics, a popular upper division economics course taught by David Kendrick, the Ralph W. Yarborough Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts. It was a course Jain enjoyed as a student, and after graduation, as Jain entered the job market, his experiences in Computational Economics became a common topic of conversation in his interviews. He found himself relating what he had learned and how it had given him hands on experience. In the end, shortly after taking a position with Microsoft, Jain decided he wanted to give back to the university. Based on his own rewarding experience in the course, Jain decided to create a scholarship in conjunction with Dr. Kendrick’s Computational Economics course, and the Jain Award was born.
Affonso Reis shares Jain’s appreciation for the Computational Economics course. Reis calls ECO 363C the most interesting, memorable class he has taken at UT and, like Jain, sings the praises of Kendrick’s engaging teaching style:
“Besides his great classroom presence and teaching, Dr. Kendrick's evaluation method allows for creativity in the development of each project. We, the students, have to go out on our own and find interesting ways of fiddling with the computational models studied in class. The class goes beyond the textbook-exam approach found in most economics courses.”
David Kendrick is the Ralph W. Yarborough Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts and has been teaching economics for over 45 years. He was also recently honored by the creation of an economics award in his name, the David A. Kendrick Computational Economics Award.
Dr. Kendrick will present Affonso Reis with his award in a ceremony held in the Economics Department on Friday, March 2nd, 2012.