Princeton University

School of Engineering & Applied Science

Societal Network Science: Where Societal Networks meets Data Science

Lakshminarayanan Subramanian, New York University
Engineering Quadrangle B205
Monday, November 24, 2014 - 4:30pm to 5:30pm

Abstract:  This talk focuses on a new emerging area of research, which we term "Societal Network Science", where the goal is to understand important societal, social and human indicators based on the network characteristics of how humans, physical and digital entities interact. Societal networks aim to capture meaningful human interaction patterns and the potential causal relationships between these interactions. In this talk, we will outline our recent results on three related but seemingly disparate problems in societal network science: disease surveillance, road traffic networks and event networks. In the space of disease surveillance, our group has worked on a 3-year long project to build a fine-grained dengue surveillance system in the country of Pakistan, where we can predict the incidence level of dengue using citizen driven data at a sub-city granularity, 14 days ahead of time. In the space of road traffic networks, we will illustrate how one can predict sudden traffic jams in NY city with high confidence 3 minutes before they happen; surprisingly, 3 minutes is sufficient to potentially avoid the jam too! In the space of event networks, we will show how one can use NLP techniques to learn networks of real world events from news corpora and how such event networks can be used in the prediction of real-world social phenomena like drought, price variations and disease outbreaks. Our longer term vision is to build an automated analytics engine for societal network science that can learn and infer socio-economic phenomena from highly diverse and noisy data sources.
Biography:  Lakshminarayanan Subramanian is an Associate Professor in the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at NYU. His research interests are in the areas of networked systems, big data analytics and computing for development. He is a member of the NYU Systems group and co-established the Center for Technology and Economic Development (CTED) at NYU. He is also affiliated with the Center for Data Science and the Global Institute of Public Health (GIPH) at NYU.  He is the co-founder of Entrupy Inc, a startup on surface fingerprinting. He completed his PhD from UC Berkeley and undergraduate studies from IIT-Madras.