Dr Dion O'Neale

BA/BSc(Conj.) Auckland, BSc Hons Auckland, MSc Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, PhD Massey

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I was born in New Zealand and educated at the University of Auckland (BA/BSc conj. & BSc Hons), Heinrich Heine Universität Düsseldorf, Germany (MSc) and Massey University, Palmerston North (PhD). After a period as a post-doctoral researcher at La Trobe University in Melbourne I returned to New Zealand and join the Applied Mathematics team at Industrial Research Limited (now Callaghan Innovation), in Lower Hutt, where I modeled geothermal reservoirs and nano-crystal growth, wrote reports on collaboration networks, and analyzed the role of science and innovation in economic growth. I joined the Department of Physics at Auckland in October 2013. I now work mostly in the broad area of network science and complex systems.

Research | Current

Two themes characterize much of my research: simple systems, which give rise to complicated dynamics, and conversely, complicated systems which result in simple behavioural patterns.

My current research is in the area of complex systems and network science. This involves both the analysis of empirical data, and developing computer simulations, in order to understand large systems of interacting parts. Surprisingly, even when the individual components of a system, and their interactions, are complicated, it is often possible to describe much of their behaviour by simple patterns.

I’m interested in how the different structures of networks (e.g., small-world, scale-free, or highly modular) affect the dynamics and properties of the systems (e.g. spread of ideas on the network). I’m also interested in how such network structures arise and the properties of the algorithms that might (re)produce them. One particular application of my research is to the economics of science and innovation - for example, looking at research and development activities within countries and regions as an “ecosystem” of interacting entities.

Teaching | Current

Physics 92F

Postgraduate supervision

Demival Vasques Filho (for PhD)

Catriona Sissons (for PhD)

Steven Turnbull (for Honours)


Physics Tuākana coordinator

Areas of expertise

  • Generative models of network growth
  • Complex systems and emergent phenomena
  • Small-world and scale-free networks
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Hamiltonian dynamical systems
  • Geometric numerical integration

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Physics Department Equity Working Group

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • O’Neale DRJ, & Hendy, S. C. (2012). Power Law Distributions of Patents as Indicators of Innovation. PLoS ONE, 7 (12).10.1371/journal.pone.0049501
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/22369
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Shaun Hendy
  • Celledoni, E., Grimm, V., McLachlan, R. I., McLaren, D. I., O'Neale D, Owren, B., & Quispel, G. R. W. (2012). Preserving energy resp. dissipation in numerical PDEs using the ‘‘Average Vector Field’’ method. Journal of Computational Physics, 231 (20), 6770-6789. 10.1016/j.jcp.2012.06.022


Contact details

Office hours

Wednesday 1-2pm

Primary location

Level 6, Room 626
New Zealand

Web links