Network Interventions for the Social Good 2018

The recent nobel prize in economics awarded to Richard Thaler, for his contributions to Behavioral Economics, has highlighted the wide interest in evidence-based social interventions. However, despite the popularity of interventions conducted at the individual level these often fail to leverage social capital information. This workshop intends to foster the discussion of network science role in the design of social interventions that aim at improve the sustainability of socio-economic systems.

This workshop aims at bringing together experts in network science, controllability theory, socio-economic network analysis , reality mining technologies, internet based experiments, and behavioral economics, to discuss about the main challenges of designing network interventions. The discussion will focus in current research questions, novel developments, and future developments and applications of this emerging area of research. The target audience are social and natural scientists looking forward to learn about current and future applications of network science to socially relevant issues.

The workshop aims at providing the opportunity for participants to listen to the presentations of two invited speakers, counts with 5 contributed talks lasting up to 12 minutes each plus 3 minutes for discussion (the exact number will depend on the number and quality of submissions).

Call for Contributions

If you are interested in presenting at the workshop via contributed talk send us a one page abstract plus one figure (optional) to until the June 30th. Each contributed talk will take 12 minutes plus 3 for discussion.

Abstracts will be made available to download on this webpage as soon as the program is defined.


The Network Interventions for the Social Good 2018 will take place in the 23rd of July during the ICCS 2018 Conference, which will be held in Cambridge, MA, at the Hyatt Regency.

Invited Speakers

Dean Eckles (MIT Sloan School)

Dean Eckles is a social scientist and statistician. Dean is the KDD Career Development Professor in Communications and Technology at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), an assistant professor in the MIT Sloan School of Management, and affiliated faculty at the MIT Institute for Data, Systems & Society. He was previously a member of the Core Data Science team at Facebook. Much of his research examines how interactive technologies affect human behavior by mediating, amplifying, and directing social influence — and statistical methods to study these processes. Dean’s empirical work uses large field experiments and observational studies. His research appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and other peer-reviewed journals and proceedings in statistics, computer science, and marketing. Dean holds degrees from Stanford University in philosophy (BA), symbolic systems (BS, MS), statistics (MS), and communication (PhD).

Damon Centola (Univ of Pennsylvania)

Damon Centola is an Associate Professor in the Annenberg School for Communication and the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is Director of the Network Dynamics Group. Before coming to Penn, he was an Assistant Professor at M.I.T. and a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow at Harvard University.

His research includes social networks, social epidemiology, and web-based experiments on diffusion and cultural evolution. His work has been published across several disciplines in journals such as Science, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, American Journal of Sociology, and Journal of Statistical Physics. Damon received the American Sociological Association’s Award for Outstanding Article in Mathematical Sociology in 2006, 2009, and 2011, and was awarded the ASA's 2011 Goodman Prize for Outstanding Contributions to Sociological Methodology and the 2017 James Coleman Award for Outstanding Research in Rationality and Society. He was a developer of the NetLogo agent based modeling environment, and was awarded a U.S. Patent for inventing a method to promote diffusion in online networks. He is a member of the Sci Foo community and Fellow of the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He is the author of How Behavior Spreads.

Popular accounts of Damon’s work have appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, Wired, TIME, and CNN. His research has been funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the James S. McDonnell Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation. He is a series editor for Princeton University Press.

Esteban Moro (MIT Media Lab)

Esteban is a visiting professor at the MIT Media Lab, and he isalso an associate professor at the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (Spain) and a member of the Joint Institute UC3M-Santander on Financial Big Data. He serves as a consultant for many public and private institutions and have held previous positions at the University of Oxford, Institute of Knowledge Engineering (Spain), and Instituto Mixto de Ciencias Matemáticas (Spain).

With a BSc in Physics from the University of Salamanca and a PhD in physics from the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Esteban has published over 50 articles, and has led and participated in over 20 projects funded by government agencies and/or private companies.

His research interests range from applied mathematics, financial mathematics, viral marketing, to social networks. He was awarded "Shared University Award" from IBM in 2007 for modeling the spread of information in social networks and application to viral marketing, and the Research Excellence Awards in 2013 and 2015 from the Carlos III University of Madrid. His recent work has been covered by many media outlets, including articles and interviews in El Pais, Muy Interesante, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal.


6 pm

Dean Eckles, (MIT Sloan School of Management)

Inference for spillovers in networks

6:30 pm

Damon Centola, (Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania)

How Behavior Spreads: The Science of Complex Contagions

7 pm

Kayla de la Haye, (Keck School of Medicine, University of Southern California)

Preventing Obesity Using Family and Community Social Networks

7:15 pm

Isabella Loaiza, (Human Dynamics, MIT Media Lab)

The unobserved backbone of international relations

--- Coffee Break from 7:30 pm to 7:40 pm ---

7:40 pm

Esteban Moro, (Scalable Cooperation, MIT Media Lab)

From individual behavior to social process: using human traces for social good

8:10 pm

Percy Venegas, (Economy Monitor)

Asymmetric Trust and Causal Reasoning in Blockchain-based Ais

8:25 pm

Alex Rutherford, Yonatan Lupu, Manuel Cebrian, Iyad Rahwan, Brad LeVeck, and Manuel Garcia-Herranz. (Scalable Cooperation, MIT Media Lab)

Inferring Mechanisms for Global Constitutional Progress

8:40 pm

C. Jara-Figueroa , Bogang Jun , Edward Glaeser, and Cesar Hidalgo, (Colletive Learnining, MIT Media Lab)

The role of industry, occupation, and location specific knowledge in the survival of new firms

8:55 pm

Eric Forbush and Douglas Guilbeault, (Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania)

Reducing Belief Polarization through Exposure to a Common Outgroup

After Break Session - 7:40pm

(7:40) From individual behavior to social process: using human traces for social good, by Esteban Moro

(8:10) The unobserved backbone of international relations, by Isabella Loaiza

(8:25) The role of industry, occupation, and location specific knowledge in the survival of new firms, by C. Jara-Figueroa , Bogang Jun , Edward Glaeser, and Cesar Hidalgo

(8:40) TBA


Cristian Candia-Castro-Vallejos

Cristian holds degrees in social complexity science (MSc, PhD (c)) and has a background in Physics (BSc, MSc, Eng). He is currently a visiting student at the Central European University and a research fellow at the Center for Social Complexity (CICS). His research interests range from the study of collective memory and knowledge diffusion to evolutionary psychology and applied network science. | click it

Flávio L. Pinheiro

Flávio is a Postdoctoral Associate at the MIT Media Lab. Previously he obtained a Phd in Physics from the University of Minho (Portugal). His work explores how the network structure of socio-economic systems affects agents decision making and impairs their ability to make optimal actions. |

Diana Orghian

Diana is a Postdoctoral associate at the MIT Media Lab, holds a Phd in Psychology from the University of Lisbon. Diana's research explores how people inferences of others depend on their social context.