Social Computing


Course Title: CSI 660 – Social Computing
Location and Time: T, Th 10:15—11:35 @ HU 134
Instructor: Prof. Tomek Strzalkowski
Contact Information:
Office Hours: Thursdays, 12-2pm, SS-262

Course Description

Can a computer figure out who is a leader of a group of people from their conversation? Can a computer detect when a person has changed their mind about something even when they would not openly admit it? What can a computer find out about the real person behind their avatar in an online game? Can we build an artificial agent that would hold its own in an online conversation? Can an artificial agent influence a person’s behavior?

In this course, you will learn about algorithms that answer some of these questions and many more.

Social computing is a research area at the intersection of computer science and social science, including psychology, sociology, communication, and linguistics. Its objective is to advance both fields by combining the power of data analytics, natural language processing, and artificial intelligence with the scientific method for studying human data and human behavior. Social science needs robust computer tools to make advances in the era of big, complex data; conversely, computer science needs guidance from social science theories on how to design and validate such tools. The Social Computing course will be a research seminar in which students will engage with research through a series of readings, understanding concepts in the social sciences about human language, attitudes, and behaviors and understand how these concepts can be formalized into computational models or algorithms.


Basic understanding of algorithms and/or statistics is recommended.

Course Outcomes

This course is intended to introduce students to the field of social computing. Students are expected to achieve a comfortable level of thinking about concepts regarding human attitudes, behaviors and activities in computational terms. They will also become familiar with the state-of-the-art in this research area and, work on a research problem to extend the field or address an open issue.


There will be no book for this course. Specific readings will be assigned and will be made available on course website. Lecture slides will be posted ahead of class on website.



Course Structure
Schedule and Topics