Howard University and Mathematica to Host Computational Social Science Summer Institute

Howard University and Mathematica to Host Computational Social Science Summer Institute

New Program Will Focus on Ethics and Equity in Artificial Intelligence
Jan 29, 2020

Mathematica and Howard University have partnered to host the Summer Institute in Computational Social Science (SICSS), which will give social and data scientists opportunities to explore how they can use real-world data to address ethics and equity in artificial intelligence. The two-week summer program is open to graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and junior faculty. SICSS-Howard/Mathematica: Lifting New Voices to Address Ethics and Equity in AI will take place on Howard’s campus from June 14–27, 2020. The new institute is the first SICSS partner location at a Historically Black College or University (HBCU) and the first to specialize in giving participants nuanced information about how digital data can address issues of ethics and equity.

The interactive program will give participants an opportunity to explore a variety of cutting-edge topics including text as data, website scraping, mass collaboration, non-probability sampling, and digital field experiments with leading experts who conduct computational social science research in academia, industry, and government. Participants will also have the opportunity to develop their own independent research projects with the organizers, other participants, and visiting speakers. Given their shared commitment to diversity and inclusion, Howard and Mathematica’s collaboration is uniquely poised to highlight innovative methods to use real-world data in conducting social research on topics of pertinence to underrepresented communities.

“Howard University’s founding of SICSS-Howard/Mathematica: Lifting New Voices to Address Ethics and Equity in AI with Mathematica is yet another way that Howard continues its commitment to the context of our founding—an unwavering question to balance the scales for the disenfranchised, and promote an America that is devoid of inequalities,” says Howard University President Wayne A. I. Frederick.

Matt Salganik, a Mathematica board member and professor of sociology at Princeton University, co-founded the annual SICSS in 2017 with Duke University sociologist Christopher Bail to train young scholars in computational social science and break down disciplinary barriers in the field. Today, there are more than 30 SICSS partner locations around the world.

“This program provides aspiring researchers with insights to help them operate at the intersection of data science and social science, as well as surface new ways to apply an equity lens to that work—two topics that are poised to shape the future of public policy for years to come,” said Paul Decker, president and CEO of Mathematica. “We are incredibly proud to stand with Howard University in shining a light on the importance of ethics and equity as artificial intelligence gains a foothold in more and more ways.”

Although students and experts from all disciplines are invited to apply, participation is limited to doctoral students, postdoctoral researchers, and untenured faculty within seven years of their Ph.D. Applicants from groups underrepresented in computational social science are strongly encouraged to apply. The 30 selected participants will receive support with costs during the program, including housing and meals. Travel expenses will be reimbursed up to a set cap. Students, postdoctoral researchers, and junior faculty interested in participating in this summer’s program must apply by February 25, 2020, at 11:59 p.m. ET.

For more information on SICSS-Howard/Mathematica: Lifting New Voices to Address Ethics and Equity in AI, visit All inquiries about the program should be sent to


The purpose of the Summer Institutes is to bring together graduate students, postdoctoral researchers, and beginning faculty interested in computational social science in more than 30 locations worldwide. The Summer Institute is for both social scientists (broadly conceived) and data scientists (broadly conceived). Since 2017, our Institutes have provided more than 700 young scholars with cutting-edge training in the field and the opportunity to develop new research collaborations that break down disciplinary barriers. For more information, visit


Founded in 1968, Mathematica reimagines the way the world gathers and uses data, surfacing evidence and insights that illuminate the path to progress for public- and private-sector changemakers. Driven by our mission to improve public well-being and our steadfast commitment to advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion, Mathematica’s nearly 1400 employees collaborate closely with public- and private-sector partners to inform program and policy decisions in health, human services, and international development. For more information, visit


Founded in 1867, Howard University is a private, research university that is comprised of 13 schools and colleges. Students pursue studies in more than 120 areas leading to undergraduate, graduate, and professional degrees. The University operates with a commitment to Excellence in Truth and Service and has produced one Schwarzman Scholar, three Marshall Scholars, four Rhodes Scholars, 11 Truman Scholars, 25 Pickering Fellows and more than 70 Fulbright Scholars. Howard also produces more on-campus African-American Ph.D. recipients than any other university in the United States. For more information on Howard University, visit