Studying Society in a Digital World Speaker Bios

Lada A. Adamic is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information and the Center for the Study of Complex Systems at the University of Michigan. Her research interests center on information dynamics in networks: how information diffuses, how it can be found, and how it influences the evolution of a network’s structure. She worked previously in Hewlett-Packard’s Information Dynamics Lab. Her projects have included identifying expertise in online question answer forums, studying the dynamics of viral marketing, and characterizing the structure in blogs and other online communities.

Christopher L. Barrett, Director & Professor, Network Dynamics & Simulation Science Laboratory, Virginia Bioinformatics Institute; Professor of Computer Science, Virginia Tech

Jeffrey Boase is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication at Rutgers University. His research focuses on how individuals use the internet and mobile phones to maintain and build their personal networks, and how they integrate these media into their daily lives. To investigate these issues Dr. Boase has co-designed several large-scale surveys in America, Canada and Japan. His most recent work examines the social utility of web-enabled mobile phones in Japan, with a focus on how personal network dynamics shape the extent to which this technology is used to bridge and bond with social ties. Dr. Boase has published over a dozen scholarly articles, and has held fellowship positions at the University of Tokyo and Harvard University. More information can be found at:

Kathleen M. Carley is a Professor in the School of Computer Science in Institute for Software Research department at Carnegie Mellon University. She is the director of the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS), a university-wide interdisciplinary center that brings together network analysis, computer science and organization science ( and has an associated NSF-funded training program for Ph.D. students. Her research combines cognitive science, social networks and computer science to address complex social and organizational problems. Her specific research areas are dynamic network analysis, computational social and organization theory, adaptation and evolution, text mining, and the impact of telecommunication technologies and policy on communication, information diffusion, disease contagion and response within and among groups particularly in disaster or crisis situations. Dr. Carley is the director of the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS). She is the founding co-editor of the journal Computational Organization Theory and has co-edited several books in the computational organizations and dynamic network area.

Edward Castronova (Ph.D., Economics, Wisconsin, (1991) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington. He is the founder of scholarly virtual world studies and an expert on the economies of large-scale online games. Among his numerous academic publications on these topics are two books: Synthetic Worlds (University of Chicago Press, 2005) and Exodus to the Virtual World (Palgrave, 2007). Professor Castronova teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on the design of games, the virtual world industry, and the management of synthetic societies. He has created two virtual worlds: Arden, a small-scale replica of a Shakespearean virtual world, and Greenland, a large-scale stone age society. Outside his academic work, Professor Castronova makes regular appearances in mainstream media (60 Minutes, the New York Times, and The Economist), gives keynotes at major conferences (Austin Game Conference, Digital Games Research Association Conference, Interactive Software Federation of Europe), and consults for business (McKinsey, Vivendi, Forrester).

Damon Centola received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Cornell University. He is currently a faculty member in Economic Sociology and System Dynamics at MIT. Damon’s research focuses on the diffusion of collective behavior, including 1) social movements, 2) cultural differentiation, and 3) social epidemiology. His research won the 2006 American Sociological Association’s Award for Outstanding Article in Mathematical Sociology, and has been published in /AJS/, /JCR/, and /Physica A/.  Damon was a Robert Wood Johnson Scholar in Health Policy at Harvard University, and has been a visiting scholar at the Brookings Institution, the Santa Fe Institute, and the Mediterranean Institute for Advance Studies.

Pablo Chavez, Senior Policy Counsel, Google

Noshir Contractor, Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University

Paul DiMaggio is A. Barton Hepburn Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Sociology Department and Woodrow Wilson School. He is Director of Graduate Studies for the Sociology Department and was the department’s Chair from 1996-99. He is a member of the Executive Committee for the Center for Information Technology Policy and serves as Research Director for Princeton’s Center for Arts and Cultural Policy Studies.  A former Executive Director of Yale University’s Program on Non-Profit Organizations (1982-87), he taught at Yale until 1991.  He has written widely on organizational analysis, focusing especially on nonprofit and cultural organizations, on patterns of participation in the arts, and cultural conflict in the U.S., and is currently studying the social implications of new digital technologies. He is editor of Nonprofit Enterprise in the Arts (Oxford University Press, 1986), The Twenty-First Century Firm (Princeton University Press, 2001), and The New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis (with Walter W. Powell); as well as author of Managers of the Arts (Seven Locks Press, 1986) and co-author, with Francie Ostrower, of Race, Ethnicity, and Participation in the Arts (Seven Locks Press, 1991).  A graduate of Swarthmore College, he received his Ph.D. in Sociology from Harvard University.

Nathan Eagle is a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Santa Fe Institute. His research involves applying machine learning and network analysis techniques to large human behavioral datasets generated by mobile phones. As a Fulbright Scholar in 2006, he launched MIT’s EPROM initiative while teaching in universities in Kenya and Ethiopia, developing a mobile phone programming curriculum that has been adopted by twelve Computer Science departments across Africa. He holds a B.S. and two M.S. degrees from Stanford University; his Ph.D. from the MIT Media Laboratory on Reality Mining was declared one of the “10 technologies most likely to change the way we live” by the MIT Technology Review magazine. Nokia recently named him one of the top mobile phone developers in the world.

Edward W. Felten is a Professor of Computer Science and Public Affairs at Princeton University, and is the founding Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy. His research interests include computer security and privacy, especially relating to media and consumer products; and technology law and policy. He has published about eighty papers in the research literature, and two books. His research on topics such as web security, copyright and copy protection, and electronic voting has been covered extensively in the popular press. His weblog, at, is widely read for its commentary on technology, law, and policy. He was the lead computer science expert witness for the Department of Justice in the Microsoft antitrust case, and he has testified in other important lawsuits. He has testified before the Senate Commerce Committee on digital television technology and regulation, and before the House Administration Committee on electronic voting. In 2004, Scientific American magazine named him to its list of fifty worldwide science and technology leaders.

Jane E. Fountain is Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Previously, she served for 16 years on the faculty of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Fountain is the founder and Director of the National Center for Digital Government also directs the Science, Technology and Society Initiative. She is a Senior Researcher at the Center for Hierarchical Manufacturing, PI of the International Dimensions of Ethics in Science and Engineering project (IDEESE) and co-PI of the Commonwealth Alliance for Information Technology Education (CAITE). Among other publications, Fountain is the author of Building the Virtual State: Information Technology and Institutional Change (Brookings Institution Press 2001), awarded an Outstanding Academic Title in 2002 by Choice and translated into Chinese, Portuguese and Japanese.  Her articles appear in scholarly journals including Science and Public Policy, Governance, Technology in Society, The National Civic Review, and The Communications of the Association for Computing Machinery. Fountain holds a Ph.D. from Yale University (1990), in organizational behavior and in political science, and graduate degrees from Harvard and Yale.

Scott Golder is a graduate student in Sociology at Cornell University. He was previously a researcher in Hewlett-Packard’s Information Dynamics Lab, and holds an A.B. in Linguistics with Computer Science from Harvard University and an M.S. in Media Arts and Sciences from the MIT Media Laboratory, where he was part of the Sociable Media Group. His research interests broadly include network and social identity effects online, which he has examined in a variety of environments including usenet, online poker, social bookmarking and social network services. His current work explores the role of the internet in personal finance. More information can be found on his website,

Irene Greif heads the Collaborative User Experience Group (CUE), comprised of a team of Computer-Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) researchers based in Cambridge, MA, as well as teams in Hawthorne, NY that focus on Social Computing and Accessibility. Irene is a former faculty member of Computer Science at University of Washington and of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT. She headed a research group in the MIT Laboratory for Computer Science, which developed shared calendar, co-authoring, and real-time collaboration systems. She is a fellow of both the Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and Association of Computing Machinery (ACM.) Irene was inducted into the Women In Technology International (WITI) Hall of Fame in 2000. Irene joined Lotus in 1987, formed Lotus Research in 1992 and merged that group into the IBM Research Division in 2000.  As a strategist in the Research Division, she directs a Design Institute and the worldwide research investment in social software and collaborative visualization.  Irene received her S.B. in Mathematics, her S.M. and her PhD. in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, all from MIT.

Eric Horvitz is a Principal Researcher at Microsoft Research. His interests span theoretical and practical challenges in machine perception, learning, and reasoning, decision making under uncertainty, human-computer collaboration, and information retrieval. His organization at Microsoft Research includes teams doing R&D in machine intelligence, CS theory, cryptography, search and retrieval, human-computer interaction, and e-commerce. Eric is serving as the President of Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence (AAAI) and is a Fellow of the society.  He is also Associate Editor of the Journal of the ACM and a member of the NSF CISE Advisory Board.  He has served on the DARPA Information Science and Technology Study Group (ISAT) and on the Naval Research Advisory Committee (NRAC).  He received his Ph.D. and M.D. degrees from Stanford University. More information can be found at:

Tony Jebara is Associate Professor of Computer Science at Columbia University and director of the Columbia Machine Learning Laboratory. His research intersects computer science and statistics to develop new frameworks for learning from data with applications in vision, networks, spatio-temporal data, and text. Tony is also co-founder of Sense Networks. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers in conferences and journals including NIPS, ICML, UAI, COLT, JMLR, CVPR, ICCV, and AISTAT. He is the author of the book Machine Learning: Discriminative and Generative. Tony is the recipient of the Career award from the National Science Foundation and has also received honors for his papers from the International Conference on Machine Learning and the Pattern Recognition Society. Tony’s research has been featured on television (ABC, BBC, New York One, TechTV, etc.) as well as in the popular press (New York Times, Slash Dot, Wired, Scientific American, Newsweek, etc.). He obtained his Ph.D. in 2002 from MIT. Recently, Esquire magazine named him one of their Best and Brightest of 2008. Tony’s lab is supported in part by the NSF, CIA, NSA, DHS, and ONR.

Steve Kelling is the Director of Information Science at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. His primary interests and responsibilities revolve around four broad topics: the development of Internet data gathering tools for observational-based monitoring projects, the use of novel digital library strategies to create global communities of interested users centered around primary scientific references, the organization of the rich data resources of the bird-monitoring community and integrating these resources within existing bioinformatic infrastructures, and using unique computer science strategies to analyze the distribution and abundance of wild bird populations.

Jon Kleinberg is on the faculty of the Computer Science Department at Cornell University, where he holds the position of Tisch University Professor. His research focuses on issues at the interface of networks and information, with an emphasis on the social and information networks that underpin the Web and other on-line media. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves on the Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE) Advisory Committee of the National Science Foundation, and the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board (CSTB) of the National Research Council. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, and a Sloan Foundation Fellowship, the Nevanlinna Prize from the International Mathematical Union, and the National Academy of Sciences Award for Initiatives in Research.

Robert Kraut, Herbert A. Simon Professor of Human-Computer Interaction, Carnegie Mellon University

Chris Lintott is an astronomer based in the Department of Physics at the University of Oxford, where he is also a Junior Research Fellow at Somerville College. He is Principal Investigator of the Galaxy Zoo project, one of the world’s largest and most successful citizen science project. In the 18 months since its opening, Galaxy Zoo has involved more than 200,000 members of the public in the task of classifying galaxies, leading to a suite of academic papers and follow-up time with many large professional facilities, including the Hubble Space Telescope. Dr. Lintott is Executive Director of the Citizen Science Alliance, an informal group of institutions who are seeking to extend the work of Galaxy Zoo to a broad range of data-rich problems.

Michael Macy, Goldwin Smith Professor of Sociology, Faculty of Computing and Information Science, Director, Social Dynamics Laboratory, Cornell University

Samuel Madden, Associate Professor of Computer Science and Articial Intelligence, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

W. Russell Neuman, Evans Professor of Media Technology, University of Michigan.

Jukka-Pekka Onnela, Post-Doctoral Fellow, Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard University

Kenneth Prewitt, Carnegie Professor of Public Affairs at the School of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University; former Director, U.S. Census Bureau

Paul Resnick is a Professor at the University of Michigan School of Information. He previously worked as a researcher at AT&T Labs and AT&T Bell Labs, and as an Assistant Professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from MIT, and a B.S. degree in mathematics from the University of Michigan. Professor Resnick’s research focuses on SocioTechnical Capital, productive social relations that are enabled by the ongoing use of information and communication technology. His current projects include analyzing and designing recommender and reputation systems, and applying principles from economics and social psychology to the design of on-line communities.

David Robinson is Associate Director of the Center for Information Technology Policy.  He nurtures the Center’s community, research agenda, and public programs.  His current research centers on information technology as a tool for government transparency. Before coming to Princeton, David was the founding managing editor of The American, a business magazine published by the American Enterprise Institute. His writing on the social impact of technology has appeared in The American, The Wall Street Journal, and Time, among other venues.

Matthew Salganik is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology at Princeton University. He is also a faculty associate of the Center for Information Technology Policy and the Office of Population Research. One of his main areas of research is social networks, mostly how they can be used in order to study populations at high risk for HIV/AIDS. The methods that he has developed in this area are now widely used by academics and governments around the world. A second main area of research is harnessing modern technologies such as the Internet and mobile phones to create new possibilities for social science. His research has been published in Science, Journal of the American Statistical Association, and Sociological Methodology, and he has received the Outstanding Statistical Application Award from the American Statistical Association. More information can be found at:

Marc Smith is a sociologist and Chief Social Scientist at Telligent Systems, a provider of fine quality social media platforms and systems.  Smith specializes in the social organization of online communities and computer mediated interaction. He founded and managed the Community Technologies Group at Microsoft Research in Redmond, Washington and is now leading the development of social media reporting and analysis tools for Telligent.  Smith is the co-editor of Communities in Cyberspace (Routledge), a collection of essays exploring the ways identity; interaction and social order develop in online groups. His research focuses on computer-mediated collective action: the ways group dynamics change when they take place in and through social cyberspaces.  He received a B.S. in International Area Studies from Drexel University, an M.Phil. in social theory from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in Sociology from UCLA.  Smith is an affiliate faculty at the Department of Sociology at the University of Washington and the College of Information Studies at the University of Maryland.

Paul Starr, Stuart Professor of Communications and Public Affairs, Woodrow Wilson School; Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University

Joshua Tauberer, Founder,  Joshua Tauberer is a “civic hacker”, working both in the trenches developing technology that fosters the public’s engagement with government as well as collaborating with those inside and outside of government on relevant technology policy. Tauberer created the website which was the first website to apply the open source and Web 2.0 model to congressional transparency; it has since become the basis for dozens of other like-minded projects.  He is currently co-coordinating The Open Senate Project, a group of technologists and congressional staff working together on policy at the intersection of technology and transparency.  Tauberer is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Pennsylvania.

Marshall Van Alstyne is an Associate Professor at Boston University and Research Scientist at MIT. He received a B.A. from Yale, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from MIT.  He has made significant contributions to the field of information economics.  He designed and implemented one of the first projects to measure the dollar output of individual information workers.  He coauthored the first proof that a market mechanism could reduce spam and create more value for users than even a perfect filter.  As co-developer of the concept of two sided networks, he has been a major contributor to the theory of network effects. Awards include a patent on a means of preserving communications privacy, an NSF Career Award, and multiple best paper awards. Articles or commentary have appeared in Nature, Science, Management Science, Harvard Business Review, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Research appears on The Social Science Research Network.

Luis von Ahn works in the Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University. He is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, and a Microsoft New Faculty Fellowship. He has been named one of the 50 Best Minds in Science by Discover Magazine, one of the “Brilliant 10″ scientists of 2006 by Popular Science Magazine, one of the 50 most influential people in technology by and one of the Top Innovators in the Arts and Scientists by Smithsonian Magazine. His current research interests include encouraging people to do work for free, as well as catching and thwarting cheaters in online environments.

Duncan Watts is Principal Research Scientist at Yahoo! Research, where he directs the Human Social Dynamics group.  He is also Professor of Sociology at Columbia University, and an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute, and of Nuffield College, Oxford. His research on social networks and collective dynamics has appeared in a wide range of journals, from Nature, Science, and Physical Review Letters to the American Journal of Sociology.  He is also the author of Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age (W.W. Norton, 2003) and Small Worlds: The Dynamics of Networks between Order and Randomness (Princeton University Press, 1999). He holds a B.Sc. in Physics from the University of New South Wales, and Ph.D. in Theoretical and Applied Mechanics from Cornell University.

Harlan Yu, Ph.D. student in the Department of Computer Science and the Center for Information Technology Policy, Princeton University