Orange Alert

Big Data, Big Challenges

Syracuse Symposium continues with Wali Lecture on computational social science

Sept. 22, 2015, by Amy Manley

Noshir Contractor
Noshir Contractor

Syracuse SymposiumTM continues its “Networks” theme with a presentation by Noshir Contractor, an expert on the science of social communication networks.

Contractor will deliver the annual Kameshwar C. Wali Lecture in the Sciences and Humanities on Thursday, Sept. 24, at 4 p.m. in The Dr. Paul and Natalie Strasser Legacy Room (220) in Eggers Hall. Titled “Leveraging Computational Social Science to Address Grand Societal Challenges,” the event is free and open to the public. For more information, call the Syracuse University Humanities Center at 315-443-7192, or visit

The Wali Lecture is co-sponsored by the Department of Physics and the Humanities Center, both in the College of Arts and Sciences. Syracuse SymposiumTM is organized and presented annually by the Humanities Center..

Contractor is the Jane S. & William J. White Professor of Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, where he is also Director of the Science of Networks in Communities Research Group. Drawing on his ongoing study of networks, he will discuss how social scientists and social network scholars use big data to monitor, anticipate, and design interventions that engage wider communities of practice to address complex social challenges.

A prolific teacher, scholar, and author, Contractor has authored over 250 research papers focusing on communicating and organizing and also two books: Predicting Real World Behaviors from Virtual World Data (Springer, 2014), which he co-edited, and Theories of Communication Networks (Oxford University Press, 2003), which he co-authored and was named “Book of the Year” by the Organizational Communication Division of the National Communication Association.

Contractor developed some of the first “virtual” college courses on emerging technologies in the workplace and has been lead developer of several major software projects. He earned a Ph.D. and M.A., both in communication, from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology in Chennai (India).

The Wali Lecture is named for Kameshwar C. Wali, Steele Professor of Physics Emeritus in the College of Arts and Sciences. The annual event was established by his daughters Alaka, Achala, and Monona, as an expression of their admiration and gratitude for his vision, leadership, and dedication to University and greater community.


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