My broad area of interest comprises computational social science: an emerging field that lies at the intersection of data mining, social science, and human computer interaction. Specifically, my research develops methods to mine and analyze social behavior as manifested via our online footprints. I am motivated by how the availability of large-scale online social data, coupled with computational methods and resources can help us answer fundamental questions relating to our social lives: our actions, interactions, emotions and linguistic expression, both from an individual perspective, at the same time, as part of a larger collective.
In my current research, I am investigating how longitudinal trails of social activity online can be harnessed for better healthcare, particularly in being able to detect and predict mental and behavioral health concerns in people, so as to provide timely, valuable, and smart interventions.
I received my Ph.D in 2011 from the Department of Computer Science at Arizona State University, Tempe, where I was also a part of the transdisciplinary program and venture on digital media: Arts, Media & Engineering. Following graduate school, I also spent some time at the School of Communication and Information, Rutgers University.
Keywords: behavioral health, big data, collective behavior, data mining, emotion, human computer interaction, language, machine learning, mental health, social media, social network analysis, twitter
News and Highlights
- 2013.02.08: Bing introduces the State of the Union Experience; a critical piece in it comes from our affect classifier (ICWSM 2012 paper).
- 2013.01.16: I am co-organizing the First Workshop on Social Computing for Workforce 2.0 at the Intl. Conference on Weblogs and Social Media, 2013 (ICWSM). Please consider attending!
- 2013.01.03: Paper accepted at CSCW 2013 on behavioral changes in new mothers, and their implications on behavioral health, was nominated for best paper.
- 2012.12.13: I had the exciting opportunity to engage in some outreach work on behalf of Microsoft Research, during the Computer Science Education Week. With the purposes of encouraging kids take up STEM education, I guest lectured two classes of 40 students each, at a high school in Kent, WA.
- 2012.12.01: I was very delighted to be one of the two invited speakers at the TEDxWomen 2012, South Lake Union event in Seattle. A video of my talk is here.
- 2012.11.05: ZDnet did a piece on Bing Elections that uses our affect classifier. Classifier details can be found here.
- 2012.02.15: Our work about identifying reliable information sources in Twitter, for journalistic inquiry, covered by Poynter and Mashable.
- 2012.02.02: Our research on classifying affect in social media, is now officially a part of Microsoft's Social Analytics! The MSDN blog post on this can be found here.
- 2010.09.01: Facebook Grace Hopper Scholarship for Women in Computing, 2010.
- 2010.07.23: Research on mining itinerary trails, covered by Wall Street Journal; also Yahoo! Labs link.
- 2010.06.15: Technology Review article about our work on mining tour itineraries from Flickr photos.
- 2010.05.14: MIT Technology Review article on my work at Yahoo! Research (inferring network structures).
- 2010.03.30: Facebook Fellowship Finalist (academic year: 2010-2011).