Douglas R. White (born 1942) is an American complexity researcher, social anthropologist, sociologist, and social network researcher at the University of California, Irvine.
Douglas White was born in Minneapolis in 1942. He attended the University of Michigan, Columbia University, and the University of Minnesota, where he received a B.A. in 1964, an M.A. in 1967, and a Ph.D. degree in 1969, all under advisor E. Adamson Hoebel and the Travelling Scholars Program.
White taught at the University of Pittsburgh from 1967 to 1976. Since then he has been a Social Science Professor at the University of California, Irvine, teaching in Social Relations, in Comparative Culture, in Social Networks and in Anthropology. He co-founded and chaired the Social Networks PhD program and within the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences chaired the Social Dynamics and Complexity research group and the UC four-campus videoconference group.
He is on the external faculty at the Santa Fe Institute, was on the governing Council of the European Complex Systems Society, and served as President of the Social Science Computing Association and of the Linkages Development Research Council.
He founded the World Cultures electronic journal in 1985 as part of the movement for open access scientific data and publication and founded the open access and peer reviewed Structure and Dynamics electronic journal in 2005, where he continues as editor-in-chief.
He is a recipient of the U.S. Distinguished Scientist Award of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the "Best Paper in Mathematical Sociology of 2004" Award of the American Sociological Association (2004), and the 2007 "Viviana Zelizer Distinguished Scholarship Award" for the outstanding article published in the field of economic sociology in the previous two years.
Longitudinal historical evolution and field studies of human groups, larger societies, and city systems
Mathematical modeling of social, economic, and historical dynamics, as well as statistical entailment analysis, Galton's problem, the Natchez Paradox, Structural endogamy and network simulation, regular equivalence, flow centrality, and structural cohesion,
Social networks, including, more specifically, the network realism paradigm,
Social complexity and complex-network system dynamics.
Standard Cross-Cultural Sample
System dynamics Studies of world system dynamics and urban studies, including his current studies of urban dynamics over the last millennium,
A reaction to his latest book, Network Analysis and Ethnographic Problems, by one reviewer, was that this "could be the most important book in anthropology in fifty years." His work on implications of feedback and feedforward processes, published in Physical Review in collaboration with the founder of nonextensive physics, a founder of chaos theory, and two young computer scientists, provides one of the foundational network simulations for understanding complex networks.