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Beyond Big Data

September 7, 2017 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

MIT Building 34, Room 401B

Speaker: Matthew Salganik (Princeton University)

The digital age has transformed the ways that researchers are able to study social behavior. These new opportunities mean that the future of social research will involve combining approaches from social scientists and data scientists, a hybrid that is often called computational social science. After providing some perspective on this growing field, the talk will focus on the Fragile Families Challenge, a scientific mass collaboration involving hundreds of social scientists and data scientists working together on a project to improve the lives of disadvantaged children in the United States.


Matthew Salganik is Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and he is affiliated with several of Princeton’s interdisciplinary research centers: the Office for Population Research, the Center for Information Technology Policy, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, and the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. His research interests include social networks and computational social science. He is the author of the forthcoming book Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age.

Salganik’s research has been published in journals such as Science, PNAS, Sociological Methodology, and Journal of the American Statistical Association. His papers have won the Outstanding Article Award from the Mathematical Sociology Section of the American Sociological Association and the Outstanding Statistical Application Award from the American Statistical Association. Popular accounts of his work have appeared in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Economist, and New Yorker. Salganik’s research is funded by the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Joint United Nations Program
for HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Russell Sage Foundation, Sloan Foundation, Facebook, and Google. During sabbaticals from Princeton, he has been a Visiting Professor at Cornell Tech and a Senior Research at Microsoft Research.

This is a special IDSS Seminar.

MIT Institute for Data, Systems, and Society
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
77 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02139-4307