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KDI School and KAIST organized the first Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS) in Korea

  • Date 2022-09-27 11:11
  • CategoryResearch and Education
  • Hit719

The Summer Institutes in Computational Social Science (SICSS) were created to provide training to the next generation of researchers at the intersection of social science and data science— and to incubate cutting-edge research across disciplinary boundaries. The Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (Korea Chapter) was co-hosted by the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and the KDI School of Public Policy and Management from June 19 to June 29, 2022. KAIST hosted the event (SICSS-Korea). The institute is South Korea's first SICSS partner location. Professor Lanu Kim, Professor Wonjae Lee, and Professor Jae Yeon Kim collaborated to organize SICSS-Korea. Graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and new academics interested in computational social science are the target audience for this summer institute. Both social scientists and data scientists were invited to the summer institute.

This is an interview with Wenyuan Lu, a KDI School student who participated in the Summer Institute.

1. Please describe your background and current employment in your home country.

Hello, everyone. My name is Wenyuan Lu, and I am a Global MPA program student at KDI School and Evans Public Policy School, University of Washington. Before coming back to school, I once worked as a research associate at the School of Entrepreneurship and Management, ShanghaiTech University, for one year; and as a senior research assistant for four years at the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, Chinese University of Hong Kong, which is one of the most prestigious think tanks in Hong Kong. My research interests lie in labor economics, industrial policy, and economic history currently.

2. What sparked your interest in computational social science and data science?

Before I went to Evans School in 2019, I participated in a summer school which focuses on computational social science and its application in public policy organized by Shanghai Jiaotong University in Shanghai, China. Thanks to that experience, I entered the territory of computational social science, which can be simply regarded as the interdisciplinary domain of computer science and social science. In that summer school, I received training in machine learning and its application in policy design and took a course in experiment methodology in public policy. As a result, I am now very interested in academic articles in this research area and its current state. 

3. Describe your experience going to SCISS.

SCISS mainly consists of three parts of training. The first part is the lectures offered by professors in academia and professional experts in industry. The second part is the group project conducted by the summer school participants. Within the two weeks, we should use the online learning materials of SCISS to conduct a social science project by applying computational methodology.  The third part is the participants’ lightning  talk and networking session. Participants can share their research ideas, look for potential coauthors with the same research interests, and communicate the latest information in the Ph.D job market. I experienced the training and enjoyed it very much. Previously I have always had some research methodology ideas which should be implemented with the help of advanced computational skills, so they have been difficult to realize. However, SICSS has given me the platform to realize these ideas, so I cherish this experience very much.

4. Which SCISS lecture did you enjoy the most and why?

I think I particularly enjoyed one lecture conducted by Professor Wonjae Lee from KAIST very much because this lecture mainly introduces a historical study on the Andong Kwon clan, a Korean noble family, by utilizing network analysis methodology.  Because I am also quite interested in economic history, I asked many questions in the lecture. Later, I also had a one-on-one conversation with Professor Lee, and we discussed one of my research ideas. He encouraged me to continue focusing on it, and said he would be very glad to give me some guidance. I really appreciate his generous help very much.

5. How do you think your involvement with SCISS will benefit your future career?

I think one of the biggest benefits of SCISS is the participants’ network. I met some friends who have the same research interests as me, and we plan to collaborate  with each other to implement the research plan soon.

The vast majority of individuals do not currently have access to training in the techniques required to gather, analyze, and interpret data, which poses a significant obstacle to achieving the potential of big data. The small number of people who actually possess these abilities frequently lack a social science research background. In order to promote critically needed research on human behavior in the digital age, it is crucial to train the next generation of social science and data science researchers. As a result, these elite schools organized SICSS Korea.

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