Human Behavior is Low Dimensional

Speaker : Professor Mark Crovella
Boston University
Date: 13/02/2019
Time: 2:00 pm
Location: LINCS / EIT Digital


Every person is unique and complex.   But can we predict anything about how large groups of people will behave?  In the 1950s the writer Isaac Asimov imagined a field called “Psychohistory” that could mathematically describe the actions of large groups.   I will argue that in a certain way, aspects of that vision are in wide use today.  To illustrate, I will describe examples from my own work in which the “low dimensionality” of aggregate human behavior gives us leverage on a range of problems, from predicting network traffic to detecting anomalous or malicious behavior in social networks.