Faculty Experts

David Lazer

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



Related Articles

Study: Using Big Data to monitor societal events shows promise, but the coding tech needs work

Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor David Lazer and his col­leagues ana­lyzed global-​​scale data­bases of news events and found them wanting. Their rec­om­men­da­tions for improve­ments would enable researchers to build models antic­i­pating every­thing from the esca­la­tion of con­flicts to the pro­gres­sion of epidemics.


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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