Professor in Political Science and Computer and Information Science

David Lazer

Research Tracks Overview

Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
09/2013
Authors: 
Yaniv Altshuler
Michael Fire
Erez Shmueli
Yuval Elovici
Alfred Bruckstein
Alex `Sandy' Pentland
David Lazer

In this paper we discuss the analysis of mobile networks communication patterns in the presence of some anomalous "real world event." We argue that given limited analysis resources (namely, limited number of network edges we can analyze), it is best to select edges that are located around 'hubs' in the network, resulting in an improved ability to detect such events.

Keywords: 
Mobile Networks
Anomalies Detection
Emergencies
Behavior Modeling
Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
07/2012
Authors: 
Yu-Ru Lin
James P. Bagrow
David Lazer

Social media, such as blogs, are often seen as democratic entities that allow more voices to be heard than the conventional mass or elite media. Some also feel that social media exhibits a balancing force against the arguably slanted elite media. A systematic comparison between social and mainstream media is necessary but challenging due to the scale and dynamic nature of modern communicatiion.

Peer Reviewed Computer Science Conference
Publication date: 
10/2012
Authors: 
Nan Cao
Yu-Ru Lin
Xiaohua Sun
David Lazer
Shixia Liu
Huamin Qu

When and where is an idea dispersed? Social media, like Twitter, has been increasingly used for exchanging information, opinions and emotions about events that are happening across the world. Here we propose a novel visualization design, "Whisper," for tracing the process of information diffusion in social media in real time.

Keywords: 
spatiotemporal patterns
Information visualization
information diffusion
contagion
social media
microblogging
OP ED
Publication date: 
01/2016
Authors: 
Ryan P. Kennedy
David Lazer
Oren Tsur

Barack Obama can spin a good phrase, and while his political opponents like to say his actions don't always match his soaring rhetoric, there's no denying the man has said a lot: So far in his presidency, he's given more than 2,000 official speeches, uttering about 3.5 million different words. So what has he actually been telling us?

OP ED
Publication date: 
10/2015
Authors: 
David Lazer
Ryan P. Kennedy

Every day, millions of people use Google to dig up information that drives their daily lives, from how long their commute will be to how to treat their child's illness. This search data reveals a kit about the searchers: their wants, their needs, their concerns - extraordinarily valuable information.

OP ED
Publication date: 
08/2015
Authors: 
David Lazer
Oren Tsur
Katherine Ognyanova
Ryan P. Kennedy

While numerous political commentators have offered up their opinion about who won or lost last week's GOP debate, we here at the Lazer Lab at Northeastern University spent the last week looking at the numbers. Actually, we looked at the words: What did candidates actually talk about? How much did they talk, and for how long? The answers gave us three new ways to think about what mattered in the debate, and who won.

OP ED
Publication date: 
09/2015
Authors: 
David Lazer
Oren Tsur
Katherine Ognyanova
Ryan P. Kennedy

Crunching the words, experts find Trump got the attention, Rubio made the most of his chances and Jeb squandered them.

OP ED
Publication date: 
06/2015
Authors: 
David Lazer
Oren Tsur
Katherine Ognyanova

Democrats talk about Iraq; Republicans talk about.........Panama?

This week is a big one for America's global relations. While Congress started hashing out whether to hand the president authority to finish the largest trade deal in history, Obama was wrapping up the G-7 economic summit in Germany.

OP ED
Publication date: 
04/2017
Authors: 
David Lazer
Michael Neblo

In politics, it's become conventional wisdom that talking seriously to regular Americans doesn't really pay off. Numerous studies have found that citizens appear to dig in their heels, resisting information that contradicts their beliefs - if they're informed enough to have meaningful beliefs in the first place.

OP ED
Publication date: 
05/2014
Authors: 
David Lazer

It's too easy to be led astray by the lure of big data.

Google Flu Trends has long been the go-to example for anyone asserting the revolutionary potential of big data. Since 2008 the company has claimed it could use counts of flu-related Web searches to forecast flu outbreaks weeks ahead of data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

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