Predicting Poverty and Wealth from Mobile Phone Metadata

Research at the DataLab shows that an individual’s past history of phone use can be used to infer his or her socioeconomic status, and that the predicted attributes of millions of individuals can provide cost-effective policy instruments in poor and developing economies.

Map of Science

Maps of Science

Maps of science reveal where ideas come from and where they are going.  

Citi and Innovations for Poverty Action support field experiments in Afghanistan

A field experiment with a large Afghan firm has received additional support from the Financial Capabilities Research Fund, through Citi and Innovations for Poverty Action

Social network analysis in Afghanistan

Joshua Blumenstock is studying the effect of unexpected shocks on network activity in Afghanistan with collaborators at Princeton, UW, UCLA, and UC Berkeley

News and Updates

MIT Technology Review

The project with Poshen Lee, Jevin West and Bill Howe was written up in MIT Technology Review as "The First Visual Search Engine for Scientific Diagrams."

Yea-Seul Kim, Francis Nguyen and Dr. Hullman Release Chrome Plugin

Yea-Seul Kim and Francis Nguyen created Atlas of Me, a Chrome plugin for generating personalized spatial analogies to help people understand distances and areas they encounter online. Download at and see the related research paper:

DataLab research at ICWSM

Dr. Spiro and DataLab PhD student Li Zeng had a poster paper accepted to the 2016 International Conference on Web and Social Media (ICWSM). Dr. Spiro will travel to Cologne, Germany in May to present their research, along with her work ons tructures of thanks and user expectations in workplace appreciation systems, joint with Andres Monroy-Hernandez (MSR) and J. Nathan Matias (MIT).

NSF sponsors DataLab research

Dr. Blumenstock, along with UW professor Tyler McCormick, have received a grant from the National Science Foundation to study "Sparse Motifs: Compact Bayesian Models of Massive Social Graphs"

World Bank supports DataLab research

Dr. Blumenstock was awarded a research grant from the World Bank to study "Conflict and Private Sector Development in Afghanistan"

What we do

The DataLab is the nexus for research on Data Science and Analytics at the UW iSchool.  We study large-scale, heterogeneous human data in an effort to understand why individuals, consumers, and societies behave the way they do. Our goal is to use data for the social good, in an ethical manner that can inform policy and impact lives for the better. As the focal point for industry partnerships related to “big data” and business analytics, the DataLab also provides infrastructure and support for student training and engagement in projects that involve the analysis of large datasets.