Computational Social Science

The Working Group on Computational Social Science at Columbia University, in partnership with the Institute for Social and Economic Research and Policy (ISERP) and the Data Science Institute (DSI) explores profound and urgent questions about how the information revolution will transform society as a whole.

The incipient field of computational social science continues to generate an array of interdisciplinary projects, often pursued in partnership with computer scientists, statisticians, and mathematicians. Some involve leveraging tools of prediction and machine learning to assist in tackling policy problems. Others entail applying recent advances in speech and image recognition to classic and novel problems in the social sciences. These projects often require methodological innovation or scaling proven techniques to new levels, as well as designing new metrics and interfaces to make research findings intelligible to scholars who lack coding skills but have deep domain expertise.

Computational social sciences raises inescapable questions about the politics and ethics of data science research, particularly when it focuses on sociopolitical problems with applications in government and the private sector. Just as with the field of genomics, to which computational social sciences has been compared, it may well take a generation before we see researchers who combine high-level competence in data science with equivalent expertise in anthropology, sociology, and other social sciences.

As of the present, we have yet to see an “Asilomar moment,” in which researchers pause to consider both the historical record and future risks before plunging ahead. Instead, there are vast experiments limited only by what researchers believe an informed public would consider “creepy.” Columbia seeks to be a convener for a more sophisticated conversation, grounded in an understanding of both the research itself and how it relates to law, philosophy, and ethics.

COMMITTEE

CO-CHAIR: Suresh Naidu, School of International and Public Affairs and Arts and Sciences | Economics
CO-CHAIR (Fall 2018): Yao Lu, Arts and Sciences | Sociology
CO-CHAIR (Spring 2019): Joshua Whitford, Arts and Sciences | Sociology
Manan Ahmed, Arts and Sciences | History
David Blei, Arts and Sciences | Statistics and Columbia Engineering | Computer Science
Augustin Chaintreau, Columbia Engineering | Computer Science
Merlin Chowkwanyun, Mailman School of Public Health | Sociomedical Sciences
Matthew Connelly, Arts and Sciences | History and Institute of Social and Economic Research and Policy
Thomas DiPrete, Arts and Sciences | Sociology and Institute of Social and Economic Research and Policy
Greg Eirich, Arts and Sciences | Sociology
Andy Gelman, Arts and Sciences | Statistics and Political Science
Jorge Guzman, Graduate School of Business
Alexander Hertel-Fernandez, School of International and Public Affairs
Shigeo Hirano, Arts and Sciences | Political Science
Julia Hirschberg, Columbia Engineering | Computer Science
Matthew Jones, Arts and Sciences | History
Bruce Kogut, Graduate School of Business and Arts and Sciences | Sociology
Anton Lines, Graduate School of Business
Michael Mauskapf, Graduate School of Business
Kathy McKeown, Columbia Engineering | Computer Science
Tamar Mitts, School of International and Public Affairs
Andreas Mueller, Data Science Institute
Alondra Nelson, Arts and Sciences | Sociology
Serena Ng, Arts and Sciences | Economics
David K. Park, Arts & Sciences
Kenneth Prewitt, School of International and Public Affairs
David Rosner, Mailman School of Public Health | Sociomedical Sciences and Arts and Sciences | History
Pamela Smith, Arts and Sciences | History
Jack Snyder, Arts and Sciences | Political Science
David Stark, Arts and Sciences | Sociology
Eric Talley, School of Law
Dennis Tenen, Arts and Sciences | English and Comparative Literature
Greg Wawro, Arts and Sciences | Political Science
Chris Wiggins, Columbia Engineering | Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics and Vagelos School of Physicians and Surgeons | Systems Biology
Tian Zheng, Data Science Institute and Arts and Sciences | Statistics


550 W. 120th St., Northwest Corner 1401, New York, NY 10027    212-854-5660
©2018 Columbia University