University of Cape Town
Summer Institute in Computational Social Science Partner Site

June 18, 2018 - June 29, 2018 | University of Cape Town

Partner location for SICSS organised at Duke University


A Summer Institute in Computational Social Science will be held at the University of Cape Town from 18-29 June 2018. The purpose of the Summer Institute in Cape Town is to bring together graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty interested in computational social science. The Summer Institute is for both social scientists (broadly conceived) and data scientists (broadly conceived).

The organizer and principal faculty of the Summer Institute in Cape Town is Dr Visseho Adjiwanou. It is supported by the University of Cape Town, Russel Sage Foundation and Alfred P. Sloan Foundation. The Cape Town satellite, together with five other satellites in the US and Finland are organized with the support of the Summer Institute organised at Duke https://compsocialscience.github.io/summer-institute/2018/.

The instructional program will involve lectures (mostly livestreamed from Duke University), group problem sets, and participant-led research projects. There will also be outside speakers who conduct computational social science research in academia, industry, and government. Topics covered include text as data, website scraping, digital field experiments, non-probability sampling, mass collaboration, and ethics. There will be ample opportunities for students to discuss their ideas and research with the organizers, other participants, and visiting speakers. Since we are committed to open and reproducible research, all materials created by faculty and students for the Summer Institute will be released open source.

Participation is restricted to Master and Ph.D. students, postdoctoral researchers, and faculty from universities in South Africa. Meals and registration fees are covered. Participants from outside South Africa are welcomed only if they are able to cover their own costs (tickets and accommodation). About twenty participants will be invited. Participants with less experience with social science research will be expected to complete additional readings in advance of the Institute, and participants with less experience coding will be expected to complete a set of online learning modules on the R programming language. Students doing this preparatory work will be supported by a teaching assistant who will hold online office hours before the Institute.

Application materials should be received by Monday, May 7, 2018.

Faculty

Vissého Adjiwanou

Vissého Adjiwanou is a Senior Lecturer in Demography and Quantitative Methods at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), and adjunct professor at the Department of Demography at the Université de Montréal (Canada). His research interests include maternal and reproductive health, family dynamics, and female employment in sub-Saharan Africa. Vissého is the chair of the Panel on Computational Social Science at the Union for African Population Studies (UAPS).

Image of Tom Moultrie

Tom Moultrie

Tom Moultrie is professor of demography, and Director of the Centre for Actuarial Research (CARe) at the University of Cape Town. His interests lie in the technical measurement and sociology of fertility in sub-Saharan Africa, and the sociology of demographic measurement. He holds a BBusSc (Actuarial Science) from UCT, a MSc (Development Studies) from the LSE, and a PhD from LSHTM.

Speakers

Matthew Salganik

Matthew Salganik is Professor of Sociology at Princeton University, and he is affiliated with several of Princeton’s interdisciplinary research centers: the Office for Population Research, the Center for Information Technology Policy, the Center for Health and Wellbeing, and the Center for Statistics and Machine Learning. His research interests include social networks and computational social science. He is the author of the forthcoming book Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age.

Chris Bail

Chris Bail is the Douglas and Ellen Lowey Associate Professor of Sociology and Public Policy at Duke University and a member of the Interdisciplinary Program on Data Science, the Duke Network Analysis Center, and the Duke Population Research Institute. His research examines how non-profit organiations and other political actors shape social media discourse using large text-based datasets and apps for social science research. He is the author of Terrified: How Anti-Muslim Fringe Organizations Became Mainstream.

Deen Freelon

Deen Freelon is an Associate Professor in the School of Media and Journalism at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and directs the Computational Communication Research Lab.

David Lazer

David Lazer is Professor of Political Science and Computer and Information Science, Northeastern University & Harvard University.

Kristian Lum

Kristian Lum is the Lead Statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), where she leads the HRDAG project on criminal justice in the United States.

Sendhil Mullainathan

Sendhil Mullainathan is the Robert C. Waggoner Professor of Economics at Harvard University and the co-founder of the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab.

Cynthia Rudin

Cynthia Rudin is an Associate Professor of computer science, electrical and computer engineering, and statistics at Duke University, and directs the Prediction Analysis Lab.

Duncan Watts

Duncan Watts is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research and a founding member of the MSR-NYC lab. He is also an AD White Professor at Large at Cornell University.

Teaching Assistants

Image of Gerald Nathan Balakaki

Gerald Nathan Balakaki

Gerald Nathan Balakaki is a doctoral student in the UCT Computation science department.

Participants

Coming soon

Pre-arrival

As we discussed in our call for applications, we have arranged two types of training prior to the event this summer. Some students have more sophisticated coding skills but little exposure to social science; other students have significant exposure to social science but lack strong coding skills.

Coding

The majority of the coding work presented at the 2018 SICSS will employ R. However, you are welcome to employ a language of your choice- such as Python, Julia, or other languages that are commonly used by computational social scientists. If you would like to work in R, we recommend that you complete the following courses within DataCamp, a website that teaches people how to code. Obviously, you only need to complete the classes with material that you would like to learn.

Additional readings will be provided on sub-Saharan Africa perspectives.

If you cannot afford datacamp, check out Chris Bail’s Intro to R slides at http://www.chrisbail.net/p/learn-comp-soc.html

Reading List

Our institute will bring together people from many fields, and therefore we think that asking you to do some reading before you arrive will help us use our time together more effectively. First, we ask you to read Matt???s book, Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age, which is a broad introduction to computational social science. Parts of this book will be review for most of you, but if we all read this book ahead of time, then we can use our time together for more advanced topics.

Also, for students with little or no exposure to sociology, economics, or political science, we have assembled a collection of exemplary papers in the core areas addressed by the Russell Sage Foundation. Neither your work nor the work we develop together at the institute need map neatly onto these categories, but if those with less exposure to social science read these, we will increase the chances of interdisciplinary cross-pollination, which we view as critical to the future of computational social science.

Future of Work

Behavioral Economics

Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

Social Inequality

Schedule and materials

Monday June 18, 2018 - Introduction and Ethics

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 9:15-10:45 Introduction to Computational social science (CSS)

  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00 Sustainable Development Goals and CSS

  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch

  • 1:00-3:00 Guest Speaker and discussion

  • 3:00-3:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 3:15-3:30 Introduction to computational social science (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:30-3:45 Why SICSS? (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:45-4:00 Introductions (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:00-4:45 Ethics: Principles-based approach (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:45-5:00 Coffee Break

  • 5:00-6:00 Four areas of difficulty: informed consent, informational risk, privacy, and making decisions in the face of uncertainty (livestream from Duke)

Tuesday June 19, 2018 - Collecting Digital Trace Data

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 9:15-10:45 Group Exercise on Ethics

  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00 Local presentation

  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch

  • 1:00-3:00 Guest Speaker and discussion (Video from Duke)

  • 3:00-3:15 What is digital trace data? (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:15-3:30 Strengths and weakness of digital trace data (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:30-4:00 Screen-Scraping (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:00-4:15 Break

  • 4:15-5:00 Application Programming Interfaces (livestream from Duke)

  • 5:00-6:00 Apps for Social Science Research (livestream from Duke)

Wednesday June 20, 2018 - Automated Text Analysis

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 9:15-10:45 Group Exercise on Digital Trace Data

  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00 Local presentation

  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch

  • 1:00-3:00 Guest Speaker and discussion (Video from Duke)

  • 3:00-3:15 History of quantitative text analysis (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:15-3:30 Strengths and weakenesses of quantitative text analysis (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:30-3:45 Basic Text Analysis/GREP (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:45-4:00 Dictionary-Based Text Analysis (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:00-4:15 Break

  • 4:15-4:00 Topic models and Beyond (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:00-5:00 Ngram Networks (livestream from Duke)

Thursday June 21, 2018 - Surveys

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 9:15-10:45 Group Exercise on Text Analysis

  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00 Local presentation

  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch

  • 1:00-3:00 Guest Speaker and discussion (Video from Duke)

  • 3:00-3:30 Survey research in the digital age (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:30-4:00 Probability and non-probability sampling (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:00-4:15 Coffee break

  • 4:45-6:00 Combining surveys and big data (livestream from Duke)

Friday June 22, 2018 - Mass Collaboration

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 9:15-10:45 Group Exercise on Surveys

  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00 Local presentation

  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch

  • 1:00-3:00 Guest Speaker and discussion (Video from Duke)

  • 3:00-3:10 Welcome and schedule (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:10-3:30 Mass collaboration (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:30-3:40 Human computation (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:40-3:50 Open call (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:50-4:00 Distributed data collection (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:00-4:15 Design advice (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:15-4:30 Coffee break

  • 4:30-6:00 Fragile Families Challenge (livestream from Duke)

Saturday June 23, 2018 - Experiments

  • 9:00-9:15 Logistics (No livestream)

  • 9:15-10:45 Group Exercise on Mass Collaboration

  • 10:45-11:00 Coffee Break

  • 11:00-12:00 Local presentation

  • 12:00-1:00 Lunch

  • 1:00-3:00 Guest Speaker and discussion (Video from Duke)

  • 3:00 - 3:15 Welcome and schedule (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:15 - 3:45 What, why, and which experiments? (livestream from Duke)

  • 3:45 - 4:15 Moving beyond simple experiments (livestream from Duke)

  • 4:15 - 4:30 Coffee break

  • 4:30 - 5:15 Four strategies for experiments (livestream from Duke)

  • 5:15 - 5:45 Zero variable cost data and musiclab (livestream from Duke)

  • 5:45 - 6:15 3 Rs (livestream from Duke)

Sunday June 24, 2018 - Day off

Monday June 25, 2018 - Work on projects

Tuesday June 26, 2018 - Work on projects

Wednesday June 27, 2018 - Work on projects

Thursday June 28, 2018 - Work on projects

Friday June 29, 2018 - Present final projects

  • Closing dinner

Live Stream

#For those unable to attend in person, we will be live-streaming each day from approximately 9:00am to 5:30pm ET. Group exercises and #some of the visiting speaker’s lectures will not be live-streamed. No registrations will be required to watch the livestream. We will #post addition information about the livestream here once it is avaiable.