We are a research group working in the emerging field of Health Informatics and Computational Social Science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Computational social science is an emerging research area at the intersection of social sciences, computer science, and statistics in which quantitative methods and computational tools are applied to big data about people to answer social science questions. Health informatics is a major subarea focusing on big data about health. We generally consider all research using large data sets where the unit of analysis is a person or groups of people (family, organizations, etc) as being in computational social science. Some examples are health informatics using hospital records, decision support systems based on administrative data for government agencies, public computational journalism using government data, and behavioral research using purchasing data.
Our primary home is the department of computer science with most of our students recruited from the department. We are also affiliated with the school of social work where much of our current data comes from. Dr. Hye-Chung Kum has a ph.D. in computer science as well as an MSW and holds an appointment in both the computer science department and the school of social work. Dr. Stanley Ahalt is the director of RENCI (Renaissance Computing Institute), director of the Biomedical Informatics Core at NC-TraCS, and a full professor in the computer science department. We also work with the school of public health as well as other groups within and outside the school. We welcome collaborations with other researchers interested in computational social science, computational journalism, and health informatics. Please contact Hye-Chung Kum (kum at email dot unc dot edu) if you have any questions.