Chris Barrett received a Ph.D. in Bioinformation Systems in 1985 and an MS in Engineering Science in 1983 from the California Institute of Technology. Prior to joining Biocomplexity Institute of Virginia Tech, he lead a research group at the Naval Air Development Center focused on the integration of machine and human intelligence in naval aircraft and later was leader of the Basic and Applied Simulation Science Group at the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL). At LANL Barrett built up a research group active in theoretical and applied research in complex systems, particularly those related to biological and social computation, interdependent societal infrastructures, computational epidemiology and synthetic information systems. The computational work is grounded in a basic research program in mathematics, theoretical computer science and the basic science of HPC-enabled representation of very large systems in great detail. After retiring from LANL he established the Network Dynamics and Simulation Laboratory at the Biocomplexity Institute. At the Biocomplexity Institute he has extended the scope of informatics research in biosocial complex systems.
Dr. Barrett has scientific experience in simulation, synthetic information systems, computational social and psychological science, scientific computation, algorithm theory and development, network science, system science and control, artificial intelligence, biosystems analysis, decision science, cognitive science. His research is largely devoted to the development and use of large-scale, high performance synthetic information systems. Dr. Barrett has received Distinguished Service Awards from the US Navy, Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Alliance for Transportation Research, the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, was named a Jubileum Professor of Computer Science at Göteborg University in Sweden.
In 2014, Dr. Barrett was named Executive Director of the Biocomplexity Institute at Virginia Tech.