The Institute for Data Engineering and Science presents the 2019 IDEaS Distinguished Lecture on Wednesday, November 6. Peter S. Dodds, the Flint Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Vermont, will deliver “The Science of Stories: Measuring and Exploring the Ecology of Human Stories with Lexical Instruments.” The event will be held in the Klaus Advanced Computing Building, Rooms 1116 E & W, from 3:00-4:00 p.m.
I will survey our efforts at the Computational Story Lab to measure and study a wide array of social and cultural phenomena using “lexical meters” — online, interactive instruments that use social media and other texts to quantify population dynamics of human behavior. These include happiness, public health, obesity rates, and depression. I will explain how lexical meters work and how we have used them to uncover natural language encodings of positivity biases across cultures, universal emotional arcs of stories, links between social media posts and health, measures of fame and ultra-fame, and time compression for news. I will offer some thoughts on how fully developing a post-disciplinary, collaborative science of human stories is vital in our efforts to understand the evolution, stability, and fracturing of social systems.
Peter S. Dodds is the Flint Professor of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Vermont. His research focuses on system-level big data problems in many areas, including language and stories, sociotechnical systems, contagion, and ecology. He is the director of UVM’s Complex Systems Center, co-director of UVM’s Computational Story Lab, and a visiting faculty fellow at the Vermont Advanced Computing Core. Dodds is the recipient of an NSF Career Award and has received funding from NSF, NASA, ONR, and the MITRE Corporation, among others.