Department of Mathematics

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 March: Political party competition: a data driven approach, Alex Szorkovsky & Sarah Valdez.
Monday 12th March (note day change, 15:15): Analysing language in political debates, Niclas Lovsjö & Martin Arvidsson.

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.

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

Mira Bernstein (Mathematics, Tufts University)
John Burn-Murdoch (Data journalist, Financial Times)
Mona Chalabi (Data editor, Guardian US, TBC)
Julia Dressel (Computer science, Dartmouth College)
Athina Karatzogianni (Media & Communication, University of Leceister) 
Richard Mann (Mathematics, University of Leeds)
Saiph Savage (Computer Science, West Virginia University)
Viktoria Spaiser (Political Science, University of Leeds)
Milena Tsvetkova (Computational Social Science, London School of Economics)

We are currently awaiting confirmation from a few other speakers. 

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