Structure and Culture Trihackathon – Bringing together Computational Practices, Methods and Theory

Organizer: Jan Riebling (University of Bamberg)


This workshop is based on the assumption that computational social science is at its heart a pragmatic undertaking. Its ties to the traditions of computer science offer something else as well, which is seldom seen elsewhere in the social sciences: the joy of tinkering.  In accordance with the time honored  tradition of the codefest a “CSS Trihackathon” is proposed,  allowing computational social scientists to test their skills and expertise on three distinct levels:

  1. Using computational techniques and practices to work effectively and problem oriented.
  2. Being able to employ a wide range of methods and tools for analysis and visualization.
  3. Testing and generating theoretical statements to explain the empirical findings.

In this contest small teams of 2 – 4 scientists will compete against each other and the clock. In the morning each team will choose one data set to work with. All available data sets will contain both structural properties (e.g. persons, attributes, relationships) as well as semantic content (text). The data can be of various types and compositions (e.g. XML, raw text, etc.) but will in general be from well-known sources.

Each team will have 6 hours to analyze the data and create a presentation detailing their findings in any way they see fit. The selection of the data will ensure that a wide variety of methods (e.g. Regressions, Network Analysis, Topic Modelling, etc.) can be used effectively. Any number of programs and tools can be brought to the table.

All contributions will be judged on the basis of the above mentioned categories by popular vote. There will be some sort of price, but the true reward of any social scientist should be the deep insight into social phenomena (and the bragging rights).

Organizational Details:

Date and time: Dec 1st, 09:30-18:00
Location: GESIS Cologne, Room A112

09:00 Selection of data sets
09:30 – 15:30 Teamwork
15:30 – 16:30 Short presentations of 15 minutes each
16:30 – 17:00 Questions and Discussion
17:00 Award ceremony

Contact: Jan Riebling, Otto-Friedrich University Bamberg, Tel.: 0951 / 120 9825