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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, gun violence kills more than 38,000 people and injures 78,000 others each year in the US.

The National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS) and its associated Center for the Dynamics of Social Complexity (DySoC) seek to analyze and compare various approaches to this issue—which some have called an epidemic and a public health crisis—to build a mathematical basis for analysis of the many factors that contribute to gun violence. This is the first scientific meeting in the US to focus on mathematical approaches to analyzing gun violence.

The Mathematics of Gun Violence Investigative Workshop, hosted by NIMBioS and DySoC, will be held May 1–3 at NIMBioS on UT’s campus.

This work requires perspectives from multiple disciplines and could be used to inform the science of gun violence.

NIMBioS is supported through a cooperative agreement between the National Science Foundation and UT.


The workshop will bring together 35 researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds to review existing approaches on the mathematics and modeling of gun violence, identify and prioritize areas in the field that require further research, develop cross-disciplinary collaborations to gain new perspectives, and suggest research and data collection that could assist evidence-based policy recommendations. Fields of study represented in the workshop include law, economics, public health, mathematics, ecology and evolutionary biology, data science, sociology, and computer science.

Attendees will include both invited researchers and applicants who showed a strong interest in the topic or appropriate expertise.

A goal of NIMBioS is to increase the number of researchers engaged in interdisciplinary efforts across mathematics and biology. As part of this goal, NIMBioS is committed to considering all aspects of diversity in all its activities, including gender, ethnicity, scientific field, career stage, geography, and type of home institution.

Topics of Discussion

Participants will be expected to contribute to a review outlining the current approaches to gun violence modeling, identifying gaps in the literature, and presenting potential future directions. The workshop will incorporate discussions and critiques of the existing approaches to gun violence modeling and how they relate to the objectives for which models could be developed. Comparisons of various modeling approaches, including dynamical systems, agent-based, spatial, and statistical, will be considered. Through discussions of existing and future models, available data and potential data collection will be discussed. The workshop will consider the variety of scales at which models of gun violence can be developed and the associated implications at these different scales. The relationship to models for human behavior, including those from social psychology and game theory, will be considered.

The workshop will include presentations from participants, a poster session to indicate the diversity of methods currently being used in the field, and breakout groups on topics chosen with input from participants. A preworkshop webinar will provide a summary of terminology and modeling approaches for participants and will be open to interested researchers who are not attending the workshop.


The event is limited to invited participants. Some of the initial presentations may be livestreamed, and a preworkshop webinar will be open to nonparticipants. A list of these offerings, as well as online registration requirements, will be announced at a later date on the NIMBioS website.

Specific media requests can be made to Andrea Schneibel in UT Knoxville’s Office of Communications and Marketing.

A summary report will be made available on the workshop web page along with an evaluation report prepared by the National Institute for STEM Evaluation and Research (NISER), an affiliated center of NIMBioS.


The construction of policies to curb the spread of gun violence could benefit from the development of mathematical models linked with available data.It is expected that collaborations arising from the workshop will result in novel efforts to strengthen the quantitative underpinnings of the science of gun violence.


Andrea Schneibel (865-974-3993,