Professor Noshir Contractor Presented at LPE Choice Scholar Lecture

Event Date: 

Friday, March 4, 2016

Event Date Details: 

4-5:15, Buchanan 1930

Reception afterwards at the Department of Communication Terrace, 4th floor Social Sciences & Media Studies Building.

Event Contact: 

Professor Cynthia Stohl, cstohl@comm.ucsb.edu

Professor Noshir Contractor presented "Leveraging Computational Social Science to address Grand Societal Challenges" at the Lambda Pi Eta Choice Scholar Lecture, Friday March 4, 4-5:15 in Buchanan 1930.  There will be a reception afterwards.  For more information on LPE, see Lambda Pi Eta National Communication Honor Society.

Abstract: The increased access to big data about social phenomena in general, and network data in particular, has been a windfall for social scientists. But these exciting opportunities must be accompanied with careful reflection on how big data can motivate new theories and methods. Using examples of his research in the area of networks, Contractor will argue that Computational Social Science serves as the foundation to unleash the intellectual insights locked in big data. More importantly, he will illustrate how these insights offer social scientists in general, and social network scholars in particular, an unprecedented opportunity to engage more actively in monitoring, anticipating and designing interventions to address grand societal challenges.

Noshir Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering & Applied Science, the School of Communication and the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, USA. He is the Director of the Science of Networks in Communities (SONIC) Research Group at Northwestern University. Professor Contractor holds a Ph.D. from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Madras (Chennai).

Professor Contractor studies the formation, maintenance, and dissolution of social and knowledge networks. He explores basic questions related to why and how do people collaborate with one another. Specifically, he and his research team are developing and testing theories and methods of network science to map, understand and enable more effective networks in a wide variety of contexts including business, science and engineering, disaster response teams, public health networks, digital media and learning networks, and in virtual worlds, such as Second Life. He has published over 250 research papers and his work has been funded by the  U.S. National Science Foundation with additional funding from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the Rockefeller Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation. His book titled Theories of Communication Networks (co-authored with Professor Peter Monge, published by Oxford University Press  received the 2003 Book of the Year award from the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association.