Friday, April 15th at 12pm in Downey House 113.
In wealthy nations, novel sources of “big data” from the internet and social media are creating new opportunities for commercial profit, enabling new approaches to social science research, and inspiring new perspectives on public policy. In developing economies, however, fewer sources of robust data exist, and it remains unclear if and how the world’s poor will benefit from the ongoing “data revolution.” In this talk, I will discuss a series of studies that combine insights from machine learning with traditional methods in empirical economics to better understand economic development and vulnerability. The talk will focus on recent results from Afghanistan, Ghana, and Rwanda, which show how terabyte-scale data from mobile phone networks can be combined with field-based experiments and on-the-ground interviews to construct accurate estimates of the distribution of poverty and wealth. In resource-constrained environments where censuses and household surveys are rare, this creates options for gathering localized and timely information at a fraction of the cost of traditional methods.
Joshua Blumenstock graduated from Wesleyan University in 2003 with Degrees in Computer Science and Physics. After Wesleyan, he did a Watson Fellowship, spent a few years in internet startups, and then went back to grad school at U.C. Berkeley, where he received a Ph.D. in Information Science and a M.A. in Economics. Currently, Joshua is an Assistant Professor the University of Washington, with faculty appointments in the Information School and the Department of Computer Science and Engineering. He is also the founder and co-Director of the Data Science and Analytics Lab, where he develops new methods for the analysis of large-scale behavioral data, with a focus on how such data can be used to better understand poverty and economic development. Recent projects combine field experiments with terabyte-scale spatiotemporal network data to model decision-making in poor and conflict-affected regions of the world. He is a recipient of the Intel Faculty Early Career Honor, a Gates Millenium Grand Challenge award, a Google Faculty Research Award.
This event is sponsored by DaCKI
Thursday, March 24th at 4:30pm in Russell House
Why do Presidents “go public”? We use novel natural experiments, social media data, and extensive news analysis to show that Presidents have little direct effect on public opinion when they appeal to the public. Rather, we argue, Presidents go public to signal to Congress that an issue is particularly important to them.
Justin Grimmer is Associate Professor of Political Science at Stanford University.
This event is sponsored by DaCKI.
Tuesday, December 15th at 4:15 in Allbritton 311
Classes will be but a memory, a bit of grit for your pearls of winter productivity. There will be nice snacks and cocktails of course, rye and gin, maraschino and lemon where they’re meant to be.
We’ll be there to hear about (and see) some of the diverse ways that we analyse, question, and shape images in our research. Come with your ideas about methods and experiences from your own work and we can share some of what we do across the campus. Teaching ourselves and our students how to analyze images and to analyze them differently is increasingly important.
To get our thoughts going, we’ll hear briefly from Nadja Aksamija (Art History), Christopher Chenier (Digital Design Studio), Steve Devoto (Biology), Justin Marks (Math), and Greg Voth (Physics).
At 4:30 on Wednesday November 4th, in 41 Wyllys, Room 112
In cooperation with the Allbritton Center, the Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative (DACKI) is pleased to be bringing Matt Daniels to Wesleyan next week to give a talk Wednesday and then to meet with students in classes and small groups on Thursday.
He is a media artist and designer, fascinated with the possibilities of data-driven narrative. For Daniels, this has often meant analysing and illustrating the content and popularity of music, its lyrics, and its locations. He has produced infographics keyed to such things as the size of rappers’ vocabularies and the timelessness of some music based on Spotify data. He publishes an online magazine called Polygraph.
In this talk Professor Schumaker, who teaches at Central Connecticut State University, will try to answer the question: “Can the sentiment contained in tweets serve as a meaningful proxy to predict match outcomes and if so, can the magnitude of these outcomes be similarly predicted based on the degree of sentiment?”
This talk should be an excellent place to learn about some of the key areas the initiative is trying to explore–big data and text analysis. The predictive power of sentiment analysis has been a consistent element of Schumaker’s work which he has applied to the stock market as well as sports.
There will be some refreshments available and we’ve found that a Friday afternoon talk can be a nice way to end the week. What’s more, this talk give you just enough time to work things out before the Saturday morning kickoffs and certainly before Chelsea goes to the Arsenal that Sunday.
Can the sentiment contained in tweets serve as meaningful proxy to predict match outcomes and if so, can the magnitude of these outcomes be similarly predicted based on the degree of sentiment? To answer these questions we constructed the CentralSport system to gather Tweets from the English Premier League and analyze their sentiment content for use in predicting match outcomes. From our analysis, we found that the models incorporating positive tweets were easier to profit from (All Positive model netted a $3,375.18 excess return). Looking deeper into the models we found point spread prediction was possible. Clubs with 1,000 or more negative tweets than their rival would typically lose by 1 goal (observed 65.2% of the time). Clubs with 2,000 to 10,000 more positive tweets would win by 1 goal (56.25%) and 10,000+ positive tweets would win by 2+ goals (100%). These results demonstrate the power of hidden information contained within tweet sentiment and has implications on wagering systems.
Friday, April 24th at 4:15 in Usdan 108
Between 1300 and 1550, church court across Europe frequently excommunicated delinquent debtors for breach of faith. This did not reflect the preoccupations of prelates or ecclesiastical judges, but widespread, popular demand for legal-religious remedies in matters of day-to-day, relatively minor credit.
By examining the practice of excommunication for debt in light of recent theories of network and organizations, we can glimpse how pre-Reformation believers understood the Church–and the market.
Tuesday, April 21st at 4:15pm in 113 Downey House
Ellen Thomas, Research Professor of Earth and Environmental Studies, is featured on the News @ Wesleyan blog.
“Up until recently, Thomas taught students about microfossils through microscope studies and by showing text book illustrations and images embedded in slide presentations. But with support from the National Science Foundation, Thomas and her peers were able to use cutting-edge technology to create high-resolution images and 3-D models of more than 40 microfossils in the phyla Foraminifera and Ostracoda.”
Read the full article here.
Wesleyan will host The New York Times’ Amanda Cox, who will give a talk on “Data Visualization at the New York Times.” Cox has been an essential part of one of the most interesting developments in contemporary journalism, the growth of data journalism, which in the innovative contexts of papers such as the Times and the Guardian have brought the analytic edge of social science back into journalism, most often by uniting it with powerful images. As Wesleyan prepares to launch its own data journalism course next year Cox, who teaches such a course at NYU, couldn’t be a more timely speaker.
Please announce it to your classes and come along yourself.
Thursday, February 19th at 4:15pm in Russell House.
Dr Silke Schwandt from Bielefeld University will lead an informal discussion of getting involved in collaborative digital humanities projects and integrating new text analysis methods in research. Schwandt will talk about her experience as a humanist involved in a large multi-year digital humanities project to make richly accessible the largest single body of medieval texts, and she worked to teach the computer how to recognise and ‘understand’ medieval Latin, in which most words have a very large number of forms. Her own research work used this database to analyse the political concept of Virtue in the central middle ages. She’ll start off by talking about her experiences.
Lunch will be served; if you hope to make it, or need more information, contact Gary Shaw.
Wednesday, February 10th at noon in Usdan 108.