[talks] Colloquium Speaker Duncan Watts, Dec 12

Emily Lawrence emilyl at CS.Princeton.EDU
Tue Dec 5 15:43:35 EST 2017

Colloquium Speaker

Duncan Watts, Microsoft Research

Tuesday, December 12, 2017 - 12:30pm

Computer Science - Room 105

Hosts: Jennifer Rexford / Mitchell Duneier (Sociology)


Title:  "Computational Social Science: Exciting Progress and Future


Abstract: The past 15 years have witnessed a remarkable increase in both the
scale and scope of social and behavioral data available to researchers,
leading some to herald the emergence of a new field: "computational social
science." In this talk I highlight two areas of research that would not have
been possible just a handful of years ago: first, using "big data" to study
social contagion on networks; and second, using virtual labs to extend the
scale, duration, and complexity of traditional lab experiments. Although
these examples were all motivated by substantive problems of longstanding
interest to social science, they also illustrate how new classes of data can
cast these problems in new light. At the same, they illustrate some
important limitations faced by our existing data generating platforms. I
then conclude with some thoughts on how CSS might overcome some of these
obstacles to progress.


Bio:  Duncan Watts is a principal researcher at Microsoft Research and a
founding member of the MSR-NYC lab. He is also an AD White Professor at
Large at Cornell University. Prior to joining MSR in 2012, he was from
2000-2007 a professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and then a
principal research scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directed the Human
Social Dynamics group. His research on social networks and collective
dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals, from Nature, Science, and
Physical Review Letters to the American Journal of Sociology and Harvard
Business Review, and has been recognized by the 2009 German Physical Society
Young Scientist Award for Socio and Econophysics, the 2013 Lagrange-CRT
Foundation Prize for Complexity Science, and the 2014 Everett Rogers M.
Rogers Award. He is also the author of three books: Six Degrees: The Science
of a Connected Age (W.W. Norton, 2003) and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of
Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton University Press, 1999),
and most recently Everything is Obvious: Once You Know The Answer (Crown
Business, 2011). Watts holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the Australian Defense
Force Academy, from which he also received his officer's commission in the
Royal Australian Navy, and a Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from
Cornell University.

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