CMPLXSYS 251 - Computational Social Sciences
(also cross listed as SOC251)
Due to the growth in electronic sources such as cell phones, Facebook, Twitter, and other online platforms, researchers now have enormous amounts of data about every aspect of our lives - from what we buy, to where we go, to who we know, to what we believe. This has led to a revolution in social science, as we are able to measure human behaviour with precision largely thought impossible just a decade ago. Computational Social Science is an exciting and emerging field that sits at the intersection of computer science, statistics, and social science. This course provides hands-on, intermediate-level instruction in the methods and ideas of Computational Social Science. We will discuss how new online data sources and methods that are being used to analyze them can shed new light on old social science questions, and also ask brand new questions. We will also explore some of the ethical and privacy challenges of living in a world where big data and algorithmic decision-making have become more commonplace. Each week, students will have the opportunity to try their hand at analyzing big data from sources ranging from online dating profiles to New York city taxicabs to #metoo Tweets and other sources.
CMPLXSYS 391 - Modeling Political Processes
(Also cross listed as POLSCI 391)
Rebooted! We are thrilled to announce that CMPLXSYS 391 is back and will help students meet their Complex Systems Minor course requirements. With a class size capped at 120 and course ownership moved to Complex Systems from Political Science, we will be able to offer registration preference to Complex Systems minor students, making the class easier to get into your schedule than ever before. It is also the only social science course among core requirements for the Minor.
In this course, we study the science and art of modeling political, economic, and social systems. The models that we construct contain actors that represent individuals, groups, organizations, nations, and even ideas themselves. Understanding, interpreting, and applying these models requires some facility with mathematical representations and algebraic manipulations and a desire to use mathematics to leverage understanding. We use models to think logically, to try to make sense of empirical regularities in the world and to think about how to design institutions and actions to beneficially intervene in processes involving social actors. This class will differ from other classes in that we won't focus on a particular subject. Instead, we are learning frameworks through which we can view many subjects and become better thinkers.