Faculty Experts

David Lazer

Associate Professor of Computer and Information Science, Associate Professor of Political Science



Related Articles

PhD student to study water access and control in Uganda through interviews—and equations

Matt Simonson got his under­grad­uate degree in math and inter­na­tional studies, but wasn’t sure they could be used together. That was until he found Northeastern’s first-​​in-​​the-​​nation doc­toral pro­gram in net­work science—and now he’s using math to under­stand human rela­tion­ships and tackle global challenges.

May 31, 2016 - BOSTON, MA. - Matt Simonson PhD poses for a portrait in the Network Science Institute on May 31, 2016. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

World-​​renowned scholars launch Northeastern’s Network Science Institute

The Net­work Sci­ence Insti­tute, home of the nation’s first doc­toral pro­gram in net­work sci­ence, brings together an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary team of renowned North­eastern scholars to plumb the struc­ture and func­tion of sys­tems and develop inter­ven­tion strate­gies to improve the health and secu­rity of people around the world.

11/04/15 - BOSTON, MA. - Members of the Northeastern community celebrated the opening of the Northeastern University Network Science Institute during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held at 177 Huntington Ave. on Nov. 4, 2015. President Joseph E. Aoun, Alessandro Vespignani, and Albert László Barabási gave remarks. Photo by: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Researchers use mobile phone data to predict employment shocks

North­eastern com­pu­ta­tional social sci­en­tist David Lazer and his inter­dis­ci­pli­nary research team have demon­strated that mobile phone data can be used to pre­dict future unem­ploy­ment rates up to four months before the release of offi­cial reports and more accu­rately than tra­di­tional forecasts.

David Lazer

Study: Political persuasion cuts across party lines

Find­ings reported in a new paper co-​​authored by North­eastern Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor David Lazer chal­lenge con­ven­tional wisdom that pol­i­tics is all about tar­geting your base and tip­toeing around the opposition.


Study: some online shoppers pay more than others

A new study co-​​authored by a team of North­eastern Uni­ver­sity fac­ulty and stu­dents has found numerous instances of price steering and dis­crim­i­na­tion on many pop­ular e-​​commerce retail and travel web­sites. That’s not nec­es­sarily a bad thing, they say—so long as the com­pa­nies are transparent.


Do women talk more than men? It depends

A new study using sociometers—devices that track indi­vid­uals’ inter­ac­tions with one another—suggests that con­text plays a large role in whether or not women talk more than men.

David Lazer

Guest post: A Facebook apologia

North­eastern post-​​doctoral researcher Brian Keegan explains the sci­ence, the debate, and the impli­ca­tions of a recent Face­book study on the spread of emo­tion through the social net­work in a guest blog post on iNSolution.


Does Big Data have the flu?

In response to rev­e­la­tions of fail­ures in the Google Flu Trends’ pre­dic­tive capa­bil­i­ties, North­eastern Uni­ver­sity researchers exam­ined how Big Data can best be uti­lized for sci­en­tific gain in a report pub­lished online on Thursday in the journal Science.


The social network, Hungary-​​style

Net­work sci­en­tists at North­eastern took advan­tage of a visit from Hun­garian Pres­i­dent János Áder to present research on the social net­work of the city’s Hun­garian expat community.

Janos Ader, President of Hungary

Network scientists lead congressional briefing

North­eastern pro­fes­sors David Lazer, an authority on social net­works, and Alessandro Vespig­nani, a world-​​renowned sta­tis­tical physi­cist, addressed mem­bers of the Com­mittee on Sci­ence, Space, and Tech­nology in a briefing on Tuesday on Capitol Hill.


Northeastern launches nation’s first doctoral program in network science

The pio­neering degree pro­gram, which will begin this fall, will focus on an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary field that seeks to under­stand the under­lying com­plexity of var­ious systems.


How to quantify success

Northeastern’s Center for Com­plex Net­work Research orga­nized a day­long sym­posia on the Sci­ence of Suc­cess on Monday, bringing together experts in fields ranging from busi­ness to physics.


Faculty experts reflect on the Boston Marathon bombing

The fourth event in Northeastern’s year­long edu­ca­tional series on civic sus­tain­ability last Wednesday focused on sus­pect moti­va­tion, the impor­tance of resilience, and the role of social media.

The Boston Marathon Bombing and Its Aftermath: A Conversation

R U OK?: How mobile phone data can improve emergency response

Are you okay?” Words like these appeared on the screens of mil­lions of Boston res­i­dents’ and vis­i­tors’ mobile phones on April 15, the day two bombs exploded near the Boston Marathon […]

David Lazer

Researchers transcend boundaries for science

At the world’s largest sci­ence con­fer­ence, North­eastern scholars urged inter­dis­ci­pli­nary com­mu­ni­ca­tion to develop solu­tions to the world’s greatest challenges.


Election 2012: all-​​day analysis

A day after the nation went to the polls, we’re talking to North­eastern fac­ulty mem­bers about Pres­i­dent Barack Obama’s elec­toral win over Repub­lican Mitt Romney, despite an extremely close pop­ular vote count. Check in throughout the day to see what experts from across the uni­ver­sity are saying about what the results mean for the nation and the world.


Money and memes in politics

A team of North­eastern researchers is probing media output, polit­ical cam­paign lan­guage and finan­cial data to reveal the invis­ible net­works of lan­guage and money in the pres­i­den­tial election.

David Lazer

Charting the new course of science mapping

North­eastern is hosting an exhibit that show­cases how map­makers today are exploring what it means to visu­alize sci­ence: its prin­ci­ples and interconnections.

Places & Spaces Exhibit

Understanding complex networks

Net­work sci­en­tists David Lazer and Alessandro Vespig­nani are awarded a major grant for inter­dis­ci­pli­nary work ana­lyzing the inter­de­pen­dence of net­works in dif­ferent kinds of systems.

Photo illustration by Christopher Huang.

Tweeting the elections

North­eastern researchers tracked the lan­guage of mil­lions of tweets to cap­ture the nation’s polit­ical mood before today’s elections

Congressional websites muddy stands on issues

Study led by North­eastern pro­fessor finds that many House and Senate mem­bers don’t address tough issues on their websites

A Web of trust

Study con­cludes that online Town Halls increase voters’ sup­port for law­makers and par­tic­i­pa­tion in politics

Network scientist analyzes life’s ‘digital breadcrumbs’

Northeastern’s world-​​renowned net­work sci­ence center wel­comes new scholar to its team. He plans to show how data col­lec­tion can trans­form social sciences.

Selected Publications

For a complete list of faculty citations, please visit iRis, Northeastern’s digital archive.


The social structure of exploration and exploitation

(with A. Friedman) Administrative Science Quarterly 52 (December 2007): 667–694.


Lending a helping hand: Voluntary engagement in knowledge sharing in a network of professionals

(with I. Mergel and M. Binz-Scharf) International Journal of Learning and Change, Vol. 3 No. 1 (2008): 5-22.


Finding Criminals Through DNA of Their Relatives

(with F. Bieber and C. Brenner) Science 312, June 2, 2006.

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