CSE Colloquia Series: David Jurgens

Mar 24
11 a.m.
Lopata Hall, Room 101

People in Context: Social Understanding through Linguistic and Network Analysis

David Jurgens

Postdoctoral Scholar

Department of Computer Science

Stanford University


The rise of new online platforms for capturing many aspects of our daily lives has opened the door for large-scale computational studies of nearly all facets of behavior, such as exercise, collaboration, and community dynamics.  My research aims to understand and predict these kinds of human behaviors by combining techniques from natural language processing and network science to produce holistic models of people and their social interactions.  The first part of this talk focuses on the challenge of inferring the demographics that describe who people are.  Using the example of location inference, I show how we can efficiently and accurately learn these aspects for hundreds of millions of people across the globe.  I also discuss my recent work on algorithmic bias in demographic inference and show how to mitigate inequality for the ubiquitous task of language identification.  The second part of the talk shifts from individuals to their social interactions and I describe my recent work analyzing how people's offline behavior and communication strategies change when they join online groups.  I conclude by highlighting future directions in computational social science that I am excited to pursue through the combined lens of language and networks.


David Jurgens is postdoctoral scholar in the department of Computer Science at Stanford University and received his PhD from UCLA.  His research combines natural language processing, network science, and data science to discover, explain, and predict human behavior in large social systems. He was recently awarded a Volkswagen Foundation grant for his work on population modeling to measure the influence of international actors on national news topics.  He is currently the Data Co-Chair for ICWSM and his research on demographic inference has been featured in news outlets such as the MIT Technology Review, Forbes, and Business Insider.