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Staff Directory

William S. Bainbridge

(703) 292-7470
(703) 292-9073
W 10152
Program Director

Program Responsibilities:
IIS: Human-Centered Computing (HCC)
Strengthening American Infrastructure (SAI)


William Sims Bainbridge earned his sociology degree from Harvard University in 1975, with a dissertation on the social history of the spaceflight social movement, and much of his subsequent research has been on technological, religious, and scientific subcultures, most recently online social media.  He obtained his first "computer game," a Geniac, in 1956, and began using much bigger computers to do statistical analysis of social data in the early 1970s.  In the period 1983-1992 he published many educational computer programs, including three textbook-software sets: Sociology Laboratory (1987) which included AI multi-agent simulations, Survey Research: A Computer-Assisted Introduction (1989) which was based on a system for creating, administering, and analyzing questionnaires, and Social Research Methods and Statistics (1992).  In 1992 he joined NSF to direct its sociology program, represented SBE in the Digital Library Initiative, and then in 2001 moved to the Division for Information and Intelligent Systems.  Several recent social media research studies have focused on virtual worlds: Online Multiplayer Games (2010), The Warcraft Civilization (2010), The Virtual Future (2011), eGods: Faith Versus Fantasy in Computer Gaming (2013), Virtual Sociocultural Convergence (2016), Computer Simulations of Space Societies (2018), Virtual Local Manufacturing Communities (2019).