About our Work

Research at the DataLab explores novel uses for large-scale heterogeneous data to understand the behavior of individuals, firms, societies and economies.  Our projects are focused in six primary areas.

Research Focus Areas

The proliferation of mobile phones and other technologies in all regions of the world provides a unique opportunity to use large-scale digital data for social good.  By developing a set of methods for understanding social and economic behavior in developing countries, work at the DataLab is helping to promote effective public policy for alleviating poverty and producing positive social change.  

Networks are fundamental building block of communities, businesses, and the broader society and economy.  DataLab researchers are developing and applying new network theory and methods to better understand the social, physical, and technical systems that surround us.  Current research explores social media, scientific collaboration, economic exchange, and human mobility.

Data visualizations convey patterns by encoding data in the visual attributes (e.g., color, size) of graphical marks (e.g., bars, lines). Interaction allows analysts to manipulate and compare large datasets. The DataLab develops better tools to facilitate visualization-based analysis and communication.

Social interaction is increasingly mediated by Internet-enabled information and communication technologies. These systems archive digital traces of activity leading to rich data that promises to provide insight into individual and group behavior. DataLab researchers leverage this capacity to collect and analyze rich data to transform our understanding of individuals, organizations, and societies.

Data curation is concerned with advancing access to trustworthy and reusable data resources. DataLab researchers are actively investigating how to build rich, functional collections of digital data for research communities in the sciences and social sciences and how to improve access to open data for the public. Their work contributes to sustaining the long-term value of open data resources and global progress toward shared cyberinfrastructure.

The Science of Science turns the microscope on itself.  The research subjects are the scientists themselves, their inputs (ideas, funding, training), and their outputs (papers, students, patents). Those in this field try to uncover the origins of innovations, improved scholarly communication, issues of equity (gender, race, socioeconomic status) and policies that faciliate discovery.