Mark E. Madsen is an evolutionary anthropologist, technology entrepreneur, and software engineer living in the San Juan Islands of Washington State.
I'm currently completing my Ph.D. in anthropology at the University of Washington. I began my doctorate under the mentorship of Robert C. Dunnell in 1988, while completing my master's degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I recently returned to the UW, and while Dr. Dunnell sadly passed away in Dec 2010, I have a terrific committee which consists of Drs. James Feathers, Ben Marwick, Carl Bergstrom, and Carl Lipo.
My dissertation research is aimed at building machine learning algorithms to fit coarse-grained (i.e., population scale) models of social learning and cultural transmission to aggregated data on cultural variation. In specific, I am adapting the traditional archaeological tool of frequency seriation to be usable within an Approximate Bayesian Computation approach to model fitting and selection. This approach allows the analyst to include many factors in a statistical model, including the spatiotemporal organization of the population, change in innovation rates and other model parameters over time, and the effects of aggregation and post-depositional processes, and yet easily assess the fit of such models to real data.
Between 1995 and 2006, I worked in a variety of capacities in Seattle-based software and data networking companies. I was a founding or very early engineer at RealNetworks, Internap Network Services, and GridNetworks. I co-founded AllRecipes.com (as Emergent Media, Inc) with Carl Lipo, Tim Hunt, Dan Shepherd, David Quinn, and Michael Pfeffer, and I co-founded Network Clarity with Christopher D. Wheeler. I served in a variety of management, board, and engineering roles in these companies. Most recently, I worked briefly at Microsoft in the Windows Enterprise Management Division, on new product initiatives and technology licensing and acquisitions.
For fieldwork, I worked in the Ohio River valley, spent 5 years working with Robert Dunnell in the central Mississippi River valley, worked with Julie K. Stein in the San Juan Islands, and did a stint in Pakistan at Harappa with Mark Kenoyer and George Dales. I was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellow, and received my B.A. (cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa) from the Univ. of Washington and my M.S. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
I am currently President of the San Juan County Economic Development Council, a Trustee with the San Juan Island Library District, Treasurer (and past President) of the Board of Directors for Seattle Arts and Lectures, and a board member with Orcas Power and Light Cooperative (OPALCO) and its subsidiary, Rock Island Communications. I am also a past board member and Chairman of the San Juan Islands Agricultural Guild, and worked for several years to purchase the Brickworks site in Friday Harbor, leading to its successful acquisition in November 2010.
I am also, as of spring 2016, Lead Data Scientist for Ibis Networks, an energy management technology company, headquartered in beautiful Honolulu, Hawaii.