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Data Science meets Network Science: Modeling and Optimizing Social Learning Networks
Christopher Brinton - Princeton University
HBK 2119
Monday, February 11, 2019, 10:30-11:30 am Calendar
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The technologies enabling today’s social, economic, and communication networks are generating unprecedented amounts of behavioral data as users interact with devices and applications, e.g., fine-granular clickstream sequences from users viewing webpage contents.
The availability of this data presents opportunities for new approaches to network science through innovations in data science, optimization, machine learning, and related areas. In this talk, I will present two groups of network data science methodologies I have developed: data-driven efficiency optimizers (DEO) and behavior-based early detectors (BED). DEO involves modeling and optimizing the efficiency of networks, through joint maximization of the match
between network topologies and intended functionalities over possibly millions of variables corresponding to node properties and edge weights. BED is concerned with leveraging behavioral data to enable short timescale predictions of adverse events in networks, through pattern mining algorithms that identify signals within sequences of user actions and machine learning techniques that leverage these signals as features to minimize detection times. In describing BED and DEO, I will focus primarily on the modeling and optimization of Social
Learning Networks (SLN), which are types of networks that form between instructors, students, and modules of content. In doing so, I will include results from deploying DEO and BED to real-world SLN through my company Zoomi Inc.


Dr. Christopher G. Brinton is the Associate Director of the EDGE Lab and a Lecturer of Electrical Engineering at Princeton University, and also a co-founder and the Head of Advanced Research at Zoomi Inc. He received his PhD from Princeton in 2016, his Masters from Princeton in 2013, and his BS from The College of New Jersey (summa cum laude) in 2011, all in Electrical Engineering. Dr. Brinton’s research interest is at the intersection of data science and networks, specifically in analyzing fine-granular behavioral data generated from user interactions to build optimization models for social, economic, and communication networks. His algorithms pertaining to Social Learning Networks (SLN) won the 2016 Bede Liu Best Dissertation Award in Electrical Engineering and drive Zoomi’s production systems that provide personalized learning, content analytics, and employee performance optimization to several Fortune 500 companies. Dr. Brinton is also a co-author of the book The Power of Networks: 6 Principles That Connect our Lives which has been mentioned in several popular media, and a co-instructor of three Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on networking that have reached 400,000 students since 2012.

This talk is organized by Marine Carpuat