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Center for Computational Social Science

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screen showing series of zeroes and ones

By DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Center supports social science research by using computational techniques to analyze big data. Today huge amounts of data are available to use for research on human behavior: website clicks, medical records, social media data. This data can be used to address larger societal issues of inequality, healthcare, education, democracy, and more.

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Recent News

Apr 30 2018 | Stanford News
Lies to appear more interesting and dateable are the most common deception among mobile dating app users according to a new study by Jeff Hancock, Director of the Center for Computational Social Sc
Apr 30 2018 | Stanford News
Qitong “Tom” Cao, a senior majoring in political science, is an honors student in the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law.

Innovating companies by watching protesters

protesters behind fence

What do protests and companies have in common? Sarah Soule, Graduate School of Business professor of organizational behavior, and Dan Wang of the Columbia Business School, analyzed a database of 23,000 reports of protests in the New York Times between 1960 and 1995. They found that in protests in which several diverse issues are expressed, the actors staging the protest combine protest tactics in new and innovative ways. They also found that in protest events in which less widely appealing issues are expressed, the actors develop new and innovative tactics.  The research suggests that similar methods may also be effective in companies; groups generate more creative combinations of solutions when workers come from a wide range of backgrounds, and great ideas often come from the “lone genius” working on the periphery of the company. Read more about Soule's forthcoming publication