Big data and artificial intelligence get most of the press about computational social science, but maybe the most complex aspect of it refers to using computational tools to explore and develop social science theory. This course shows how computer simulations are being used to explore the realm of what is theoretically possible. Computer simulations allow us to study why societies are the way they are, and to dream about the world we would like to live in. This can be as intuitive as playing a video game. Much like the well-known video game SimCity is used to build and manage an artificial city, we use agent-based models to grow and study artificial societies. Without hurting anyone in the real world, computer simulations allow us explore how to make the world a better place. We play hands-on with several practical computer simulation models and explore how we can combine hypothetical models with real world data. Finally, you will program a simple artificial society yourself, bottom-up. This will allow you to feel the complexity that arises when designing social systems, while at the same time experiencing the ease with which our new computational tools allow us to pursue such daunting endeavors.
UC Davis, one of the nation’s top-ranked research universities, is a global leader in agriculture, veterinary medicine, sustainability, environmental and biological sciences, and technology. With four colleges and six professional schools, UC Davis and its students and alumni are known for their academic excellence, meaningful public service and profound international impact.
- 5 stars76.05%
- 4 stars12.67%
- 3 stars2.81%
- 2 stars1.40%
- 1 star7.04%
Very good course with great explanations. The wordings on questions of the quizzes could have been clearer.
I really enjoyed this course. It was very interesting!
Very useful course for learning basics of ABM and NetLogo programming. We went over many variations of Sugarscape model and got some good insights on what ABM is.
关于 计算社会科学 专项课程
For more information please view the Computational Social Science Trailer
Digital technology has not only revolutionized society, but also the way we can study it. Currently, this is taken advantage of by the most valuable companies in Silicon Valley, the most powerful governmental agencies, and the most influential social movements. What they have in common is that they use computational tools to understand, and ultimately influence human behavior and social dynamics. An increasing part of human interaction leaves a massive digital footprint behind. Studying it allows us to gain unprecedented insights into what society is and how it works, including its intricate social networks that had long been obscure. Computational power allows us to detect hidden patterns through analytical tools like machine learning and to natural language processing. Finally, computer simulations enable us to explore hypothetical situations that may not even exist in reality, but that we would like to exist: a better world. This specialization serves as a multidisciplinary, multi-perspective, and multi-method guide on how to better understand society and human behavior with modern research tools. This specialization gives you easy access to some of the exciting new possibilities of how to study society and human behavior. It is the first online specialization collectively taught by Professors from all 10 University of California campuses.
What do students say after completion?
These are some reflections shared by students who have worked through the content of the Specialization on Computational Social Science:
"Highly enjoyable and most importantly, giving me exceptionally important skills to fulfill my job requirements at a new position in Munich. You may be interested to know the impact of your course on salary and in my case, the knowledge and certification gained adds about another Euro 20.000 on the annual salary (taking it to about Euro 120.000 p.a.)."
"My overall impression of this was: I can't wait to use this for other stuff!!"
"I absolutely think that these tools could be used in my future jobs, or even as a personal reflection. If you scrape and analyze the comments/reactions that your business gets on Youtube, Twitter, Instagram, etc., what does their language use say about how they interact with your brand — or what your brand brings out in them?"
"Wow, this is cool and fun stuff. Even though I may not pursue anything social-science related in the near future, it is still nice to learn and get to experience all of these tools that computational social science offers and benefits in all kinds of careers and fields of study."
"I particularly enjoyed the web-scraping for some reason. It feels very advanced although its very easy. ...It seems to be a very fast and efficient way of grabbing data."
"I enjoyed playing around with machine learning! ...It was also amazing to me how quickly it was able to grasp and learn our input in seconds. It makes me wonder how much more technology will advance in these next few years... It's scary but fascinating."
"The fact that these tools are so easily usable and attainable is incredible in my mind. Not only do we have access to them like we have access to things like Facebook and Twitter, but they're FREE."
"The most interesting aspect was the fact that these tools are all free and online. In the past, only researchers at well-funded universities had access to programs like the ones we used in all of our labs. But now, even someone without much technical knowledge on complex software can use these tools."
"I am so surprised that these tools are available to anyone through a simple download, and even more so that they are very user friendly and easy to learn how to navigate. I plan on starting a clothing line company in the future and I think it will be really helpful for me to be able to analyze so much online data."
"As an Environmental Policy Analysis and Planning major, I was fascinated to learn that there is a feasible way to simulate policy implementation and impact multiple times within a short span of time."
"UCCSS has allowed me to feel more confident in my abilities with a computer and to better understand companies like Facebook or Twitter. ...these tools really are powerful but also dangerous. ...It allows powerful individuals to manipulate ideas."
"Throughout the course, the content was challenging, but when it was finally applied to the labs at the end of each module, it was really rewarding to see everything play out. It was even more rewarding when it made sense too! ... I'm really glad I took this course! It was definitely a challenge, but I'm glad I got to experience and learn about so many topics I never knew even existed."
"It was fun seeing the results of the code that I made, and I never thought that I would be doing something like this in my life. The results also showed me what the society would look like.... Social network analysis and web scraping could be the tools that I use in my future job as all the internship that I'm looking now all related to social media or digital media."
"My career aspiration is to be a digital marketing expert. These computational tools have enormous implications for the field."
"I really really loved that this class let me learn hands-on and gave me experience with tools that have real world application and combine STEM & social science. I think that a lot of these tools are useful far beyond homework activities."
"Best course I have taken. I wish more online courses structured like this would be offered."
Since this Specialization is a collective effort from all UC campuses, who teaches it?
This Specialization on Computational Social Science is the result of a collective effort with contributions from Professors from all 10 campuses of the University of California. It is coordinated by Martin Hilbert, from UC Davis, and counts with lectures from:
3) UC Irvine: Lisa Pearl, Prof. Cognitive Sciences.
4) UC Los Angeles: PJ Lamberson, Assistant Prof. Communication Studies.
5) UC Merced: Paul Smaldino, Prof. Cognitive and Information Sciences.
6) UC Riverside: Christian Shelton, Prof. Computer Science.
7) UC San Diego: James Fowler, Prof. Global Public Health and Political Science.
8) UC San Francisco: Maria Glymour, Associate Prof. School of Medicine, Social Epidemiology & Biostatistics.
9) UC Santa Barbara: René Weber, Prof. Dpt. of Communication & Media Neuroscience Lab (with Frederic Hopp).
10) UC Santa Cruz: Marilyn Walker, Prof. Computer Science, Director, Computational Media.