Mathematics for social activism

During Spring 2018 CIM will run a theme around ‘Maths for social activism' culminating in a workshop on June 4th and 5th.

Organiser: David Sumpter  

From Facebook to job evaluations, mathematics now plays an important part in every aspect of our social lives. And, increasingly, mathematicians are actively using their skills to improve society. Examples include finding the geneology of far-right extremism; quantifying gerrymandering (the adjustment of electoral districts to benefit certain political powers); understanding voting patterns; setting socio-economic development targets and analysing how Facebook classifies people. Behind these projects are some advanced mathematical and statistical tools, including singular value decomposition, representations of words as vectors, neural networks and methods for Artificial Intelligence. There is also an increased movement to use mathematics in public communication, both through statistics and articles explaining (in simple terms) how data science methods work. There are however dangers and challenges. Google Flu turned out to a spectacular example of confusing correlation for causation. Some algorithms can make biased decisions against minorities, despite the best intentions of the creators. 


Weekly meetings: We will meet every Thursday during Spring term between 15:15 - 16:00  in room Å64119. Everyone is welcome to participate in these lectures, project presentations and other activities.

Thursday 1st Feb: Singing in the rain: web searches before hurricanes, Elena Mondino,  Melanie Mucke & Johanna Strömberg.
Thursday 8th Feb: Gender discrimination within an organisation, Theo Jessop & Brian Treacy
Thursday 15th Feb: Modelling the Hearthstone Metagame, Emil Rosen.
Thursday 1st March: Political party competition: a data driven approach, Alex Szorkovsky & Sarah Valdez.
Monday 12th March: Analysing language in political debates, Niclas Lovsjö & Martin Arvidsson.
Thursday 15th March: Spotify for music personalities, Marcus Westerberg & Linnea Gyllingberg.

CoSy lunch: A number of the CoSy lunch speakers during this term will be connected to the theme. Keep an eye on the schedule.

Data Science course: For those who would like a quick start in the area, between 20th of April and 1st of June, CIM is running the 360-in-525 Minutes CIM Course Set in Data Sciences for Uppsala’s PhD/MSc Students.

Workshop: Mathematics fOR social activism

Monday 4th & Tuesday 5th June 2018
Ångström Laboratory, Uppsala University

The mathematics of gerrymandering: much more complicated than you might think
Mira Bernstein (Mathematics, Tufts University)

Title: to be confirmed
John Burn-Murdoch (Data journalist, Financial Times)

Title: to be confirmed
Julia Dressel (Computer science, Dartmouth College)

Title: to be confirmed
Ryan Dunn (Department of Work and Pensions, Newcastle)

Platform Owner versus Algorithm: Distortions of Communicative Capital as Possibilities for Activism 
Athina Karatzogianni (Media & Communication, University of Leceister) 

Reward the rebels, but only when they are right: how to use incentives to boost the wisdom of crowds
Richard Mann (Mathematics, University of Leeds)

Blockchain, Bots, and the Future of Democracy
Saiph Savage (Computer Science, West Virginia University)

Revolutions stuck on Twitter: What can data analytics of Twitter data teach us about failed revolutions and political change?
Viktoria Spaiser (Political Science, University of Leeds)

Title: to be confirmed
Lisa Charlotte Rost (DataWrapper, Berlin)

What Causes Inequality in Social Groups? How the structure and rules of social interaction can increase wealth inequality.
Milena Tsvetkova (Computational Social Science, London School of Economics)

All talks will take place in room Ångström building, room 2002.

The workshop is free for participants (lunch and coffee breaks on both days included), but registration is necessary. Local (Uppsala) should go in to the following document and fill in your details. Other participants should use Everbrite to register an interest. We will contact you at the start of May to confirm participation.