Wenwu Tang


Research Scientist


Ph.D., Geography, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA USA (2008)
M.S., Geography, Nanjing University, Nanjing, China (2001)
B.S., Geography, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China (1998)

Wenwu’s primary research interests are centered on computational science and geographic information science. More specifically, his research interests include the:

1) spatiotemporal analysis and modeling of complex adaptive spatial systems (CASS);

2) application of artificial intelligence and, in particular, machine learning and software agents in the study of CASS;

3) use of cyberinfrastructure technology to support the resolution of computationally intensive geospatial problems.

Wenwu has developed a GIS-based simulation framework to support the study of spatial adaptation within complex geographic systems. Wenwu's dissertation is entitled as “Geographically-Aware Intelligent Agents” (GAIA; see TOC or Extended Abstract). GAIA integrate functionality from agent-based models, machine learning, and GIS into a single framework that faciliates the design of agents that are contextually-aware, knowledge-driven, and adaptive within geospatial environments. This framework provides solid support for the computational modeling of adaptive individuals within coupled human and natural systems (e.g., animals in ecosystems, pedestrians in built environments, and drivers in transportation systems), often identified as complex adaptive systems.

Modeling the adaptive movement behavior of elk in the northern range of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem is a case study to illustrate the utility of the GAIA framework in solving complex adaptive geospatial problems. Currently, Wenwu is working on 1) applying the GAIA framework into the modeling of rangeland management, and pedestrian movement, and 2) integrating the GAIA framework with parallel computing and service-oriented computing to enable computationally intensive spatial analysis and modeling.


  • Computer Cartography and Geovisualization (GEOG473), Instructor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (Fall 2009)
  • GIS for Environmental Studies: Introduction (44:110), Laboratory Instructor and Teaching Assistant, University of Iowa (Fall 2006)
  • Foundations of GIS (44:005), Laboratory Instructor and Teaching Assistant, University of Iowa (Fall 2006)

Publications (Recent)

  • Tang, W., and Bennett, D.A., Accepted, Explicit representation of context in agent-based modeling of complex adaptive spatial systems, The Annals of the Association of American Geographers
  • Tang, W., and Bennett, D.A., Accepted, “Agent-based modeling of animal movement: A review” Geography Compass pdf
  • Tang, W., and Wang, S., 2009 “HPABM: A Hierarchical Parallel simulation framework for spatially explicit Agent-Based Models” Transactions in GIS 13(3): 315-333
  • Tang, W., Malanson, G.P. and Entwisle, B., 2009, “Simulated village locations in Thailand: A multi-scale model including a neural network approach” Landscape Ecology 24 (4): 557-575 pdf
  • Tang, W. 2008. “Simulating complex adaptive geographic systems: A geographically aware intelligent agent approach” Cartography and Geographic Information Science 35(4):239-263 pdf
  • Wang, S., Padmanabhan, A., Myers, J. D., Tang, W., and Liu, Y. 2008. “Towards Provenance-Aware Geographic Information Systems.” In: Proceedings of the 16th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems (ACM GIS 2008), November 5-7, 2008, Irvine, CA, USA pdf
  • Tang, W., Wang, S., Bennett, D.A. & Liu, Y., 2008. Design and implementation of a service-oriented agent-based simulation architecture. In: Workshop of the Design of Service-Oriented Architecture (SOA) for Geospatial Science for 5th International Conference on Geographic Information Science, Park City, Utah, USA. pdf
  • Tang, W., 2007, “Development of a spatially-explicit agent-based simulation package for modeling complex adaptive geographic systems” Proceedings of the UCGIS Summer Assembly, 2007, Yellowstone National Park, USA. pdf.
  • Bennett, D.A., and Tang, W., 2006, “Modeling adaptive, spatially aware, and mobile agents: Elk migration in Yellowstone” International Journal of Geographical Information Science, 20(9): 1039-1066.

Useful Links


Chinese Martial Arts, Basketball, Fitness, and Classical Music


CyberInfrastructure and Geospatial Information Laboratory (CIGI)
Department of Geography
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Room 324 Davenport Hall
607 South Mathews Avenue
Urbana, IL 61801
Campus Mail Code: MC-150
Phone 217-244-9315


National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA)
1205 W. Clark St.
Urbana, IL 61801
Campus Mail Code: MC-257

Email wentang@uiuc.edu