Time+Place: Sunday 28/12/2014 14:30 Room 337-8 Taub Bld.
Title: An Algorithmic Approach for Analyzing Social Phenomena
Speaker: Sigal Oren - CS-Lecture sites.google.com/site/sigal3/home
Affiliation: Hebrew University and Microsoft Research
Host: Seffi Naor


These days, as more and more people use online applications such as 
Wikipedia, Stack Overflow or Facebook, social phenomena that originally 
appeared in the offline world make an appearance online and new social 
phenomena emerge. This calls for narrowing the gap between computer 
science and social sciences in general, and sociology in particular. The 
opportunity here is twofold. First, the algorithmic approach can offer a 
new perspective on social phenomena previously studied in social 
sciences. Second, a better understanding of social sciences can be 
beneficial for computer scientists designing these online applications.

In this talk we will demonstrate the merits of the algorithmic approach 
for analyzing social phenomena by focusing on a significant online 
activity: forming and expressing opinions. We will first discuss a 
mathematical model of the process by which people form their opinion in 
a social network and analyze the effects it has on disagreement in 
society. Then, noting that opinions lead to long-term reputational 
effects, we will study how reputation influences the behavior of firms 
and in particular how it affects their hiring decisions.

Based on joint work with David Bindel and Jon Kleinberg.


Sigal Oren is a post-doctoral fellow at the Hebrew University and 
Microsoft Research. She obtained her BSc from the Department of Computer 
Science at the Technion. Sigal earned her PhD in computer sciences from 
Cornell University in 2013, under the supervision of Jon Kleinberg. 
During her graduate studies, Sigal was a Microsoft Research PhD fellow. 
Her dissertation has won an honorable mention for the SIGecom Doctoral 
Dissertation Award.