Computation Workshop

The 2017-18 Computation Workshop will be held on Thursdays from 11 to 12:20 p.m. in Saieh 247.

From last year’s archive:

Spring 2017

April 6:  The Causes and Consequences of Self-Employment over the Life Cycle

John Eric HumphriesPhD Candidate in Economics, University of Chicago ( 



April 13: Exploring the Ecology of Human Stories

Peter Sheridan Dodds, Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at University of Vermont



April 20th: How Segregated is Urban Consumption?

Jonathan Dingel, Professor, Chicago Booth School of Business (PhD, Economics)(



April 27th: Neural and Environmental Factors Related to Self-Control

Marc Berman, Assistant Professor of Psychology, University of Chicago (



May 4: Network Anomalies

Michael Macy, Goldwin Smith Professor of Arts and Sciences in Sociology and Director of the Social Dynamics Laboratory, Cornell University (



May 11: Exploratory and Confirmatory Causal Inference with High Dimensional Interventions

Justin Grimmer, Associate Professor of Political Science, Stanford University (


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May 25: Can We Trust Online Employer Reviews

Ioana Marinescu, Assistant Professor at University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy,



Winter 2017  


January 5: Connecting to the Server (R, Rstudio, Stata, Matlab, etc.)

Bart Longacre and Steve Mohr from SSCS



January 19: High-throughput Replication in the Social and Natural Sciences

James Evans, Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago



January 26: Word Embedding Models

Austin Kozlowski, PhD student in Sociology, University of Chicago



February 2: Estimating Network Memberships by Simplex Vertices Hunting

Tracy Ke, Assistant Professor in Statistics, University of Chicago



February 16: Automated Reasoning for the Social Sciences

Casey Mulligan, Professor in Economics, University of Chicago 



February 23: Open Source Policy Analysis: How to Shape Government with Code, Data, and Research

Matt Jensen, Founder and Managing Director of the Open-Source Policy Center at the American Enterprise Institute



March 2: An Introduction to Adaptive Surveys and Amazon Mechanical Turk Skills Session

Nandana Sengupta, Postdoctoral Scholar at the Knowledge Lab, University of Chicago

*** Participants are advised to have access to python and have an amazon mturk requester account set up ( before the session.



March 9: Student Conference

MA Students


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Fall 2016

September 29: Understanding Success in Science and Technology

Dashun Wang, Associate Professor at Northwestern’s Institute for Complex Systems (NICO) and Kellogg School of Business. 



October 6: A Coordination Approach to Early Language Learning

Dan Yurovsky, University of Chicago, Assistant Professor of Psychology and Director of the Communication and Learning Lab



October 13: An Introduction to GeoDa and Spatial Data Analysis

Luc Anselin, University of Chicago, Stein-Freiler Distinguished Service Professor of Sociology and the College, Director of the Center for Spatial Data Science, Senior Fellow at NORC

Materials: GeoDa Installation Instructions and SlidesFree GeoDa-ready Sample DataGeoDa: An Introduction to Spacial Data AnalysisThe GeoDa Book: Exploring Spatial Data



October 20: The Theory and Practice of Research Design

Scott Duke Kominers, Harvard University, Junior Fellow at the Harvard Society of Fellows, Affiliate of the Harvard Center of Mathematical Sciences and Applications, Associate of the Harvard Center for Research on Computation and Society, Research Economist at the National Bureau of Economic Research



October 27: “No Hatred or Malice, Fear or Affection”: Media and Sentencing

Aurelie Ouss, Post-Doctoral Fellow at the University of Chicago Crime Lab. PhD Economics from Harvard University, prior research assistant for the MIT Poverty Action Lab (JPAL).



November 3: Introduction to Network Analysis in Python

Peter McMahan, PhD Candidate in Department of Sociology, University of Chicago



November 10: The Computational Beauty of Society

Lingfei Wu, Post-Doctoral fellow at University of Chicago

Materials: An overview of his free ebook Data Mining in Social Science



November 17: The Role of Social Scientists in Tech

Wayne Huang, Twitter, Global Measurement Research, Analytics, and Insights


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November 29: Human-in-the-loop Data Processing

Michael Franklin, Lieu Family Chair of Computer Science, Senior Advisor to Provost on Computation and Data Science Chairman

Materials: The talk will draw from the following two papers: Clamshell: Scaling Up Crowds for Low Latency Data Labeling, VLDB 2016 and Answering Enumeration Queries with the Crowd, CACM Jan 2016



December 8: Topic TBA

Jonathan Dingel, Assistant Professor of Economics and Kathryn and Grant Swick Scholar at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business

About the Computation Workshop

The Computation Workshop explores what is now possible in the social sciences, with access to big data, powerful computing, and sophisticated statistical techniques.

The Workshop has three components:

  1. Outside speakers connect the workshop with new methods and problems. These speakers come from the front-lines: graduate students, post-docs, and faculty reaching for transformative ways of gathering, framing, analyzing, and modeling data.

  2. Regular participants share work in progress, and invite discussion on how the assumptions and mechanics of their computational research design relates to the assumptions and expected findings of existing social science research.

  3. Local participants lead pedagogical seminars on important new papers or methods.

The Workshop meets each Thursday from 11 to 12:20 p.m. All interested faculty and graduate students are welcome. Our Computation MA students are expected to attend.