Santa Fe Institute

What Social Computing Means to Emergency Management


March 12, 2013
3:30 PM
Noyce Conference Room

Leysia Palen (University of Colorado, Boulder)

Abstract.  Growth in the capabilities of and access to social computing services brings new questions to bear on how large scale on-line interaction is studied, understood, and shaped. In an area of research we call "crisis informatics," I examine the use of social media in mass emergency contexts by extending methodological approaches and theoretical frames to explain this socio-behavioral phenomena. In this talk, I will offer a view of the information space of emergency management as a social system that extends beyond the activities of the formal response--a view that lends power to understanding the present and future role of social computing in emergency response. I will present our empirical research on social computing in mass disruption events and its implications for emergency management.

Bio.  Leysia Palen is an associate professor of Computer Science faculty at the University of Colorado, Boulder and a faculty fellow with the Institute of Cognitive Science (ICS). She is an adjunct full professor in the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Agder, Norway. Her training and interests are socio-technical, with a focus on ethnographic studies of social computing. She has published several articles and an edited book on research about the social aspects of ICT in a variety of everyday and safety-critical contexts. In 2006, Professor Palen was awarded a US National Science Federation Early CAREER Grant to study information dissemination in disaster events ("Data in Disaster"). She is also the Principal Investigator of a $2.8M National Science Foundation grant called "Project EPIC: Empowering the Public with Information in Crisis." Prior to her appointment at Colorado, she completed her PhD at the University of California, Irvine in Information and Computer Science, and her undergraduate education in Cognitive Science at the University of California, San Diego. In 2005-2006, Professor Palen was a visiting professor at the University of Aarhus, Denmark.

Purpose: Research Collaboration

SFI Host: Evandro Ferrada

More Info

  • * SFI community lectures are free, open, & accessible to the public.
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