Knowledge Lab Alumni

Yo Joong "YJ" Choe

PhD Student, Machine Learning, Carnegie Mellon

I am a PhD student studying Machine Learning at Carnegie Mellon. I was born and raised in Seoul, South Korea. I am broadly interested in the theory of machine learning as well as its applications to social models.

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Megan Barnes

Student, University of Chicago

I graduated from the University of Chicago, studying linguistics and computer science.  I am interested in language processing as well as data processing techniques, like machine learning, that help us better understand humans. At Knowledge Lab, I worked on a project to create maps of research activity in key topical areas of interest to research funding agencies. The maps could reveal and help funders analyze a) levels of research activity, b) who is participating, c) and in which topics.  Also, I love music, Twitter, comedy, and the Pacific Northwest. I am currently working for an early stage startup in New York City.

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Cody Braun


Cody is a masters student in computer science, a veteran of several tech startups, and a University of North Carolina alumnus. Though he is currently studying high-performance computing, machine learning, and data analysis, his wide range of past experiences include jobs at small-town Southern newspapers, Portuguese olive farms, and Australian construction companies. Among other projects, he is currently working on a browser plugin designed to detect phishing, a bound ePaper book dynamically populated by a web crawler, and a handful of Arduino-based gadgets.

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William Catino

Principal Software Engineer, University of Chicago

William earned a PhD in Electrical and Computer Engineering at the Illinois Institute of Technology in 1997, under the guidance of Joseph L. LoCicero and Henry Stark. His research topic was Constrained Optimization Algorithms for Image Processing, applied to Hologram design. In addition to working at several technology companies, he spent a large portion of his career as an independent consultant.

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Alexander Dunlap

PhD Student, Mathematics, Stanford University

Mathematics PhD student at Stanford. I am interested in machine learning and, more generally, using quantitative ideas to understand complex problems. In my free time I enjoy bicycling and baking.

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Aaron Gerow

Post-doctoral Scholar, Knowledge Lab

I grew up in and around Chicago, went to college in Tacoma at Pacific Lutheran University studying computer science and philosophy, liberal arts style. I received my masters degree from University College Dublin in cognitive science and I began my PhD at Trinity in the Fall of 2010.

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Bowen Lou

PhD Student, University of Pennsylvania, Wharton

I completed my masters study in computer science from University of Chicago and am currently a PhD Student at Wharton. I am a data enthusiast, and passionate about using large amounts of data to solve real world problems. I’m specifically interested in applying or proposing solutions from statistical, natural language processing, and network science in order to understand latent patterns under large-scale texts about individuals and organizations from social media, digital publications and the World Wide Web.

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Prateeti Mohapatra

Research Engineer - Modeling and Simulation, Knowledge Lab

My background is in Statistical Modeling and Analysis, System Dynamics, Speech Processing and Software Engineering. I have also worked in the areas of Parallel Programming, Numerical Methods, Requirements Engineering, Life-cycle Cost Modeling, and Global Software Development at Research Centers (Central Research Laboratory, India, ABB Corporate Research Center, India, and Flash Center for Computational Science, UChicago, USA) and Software Industries (The Mathworks).

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Chris Natoli

PhD Student, Mathematics, CUNY Graduate Center

PhD student in Mathematics at CUNY Graduate Center. I like learning about and using machine learning and probabilistic methods to rigorously study problems in the social sciences. I care a lot about the left, history, and New York City.

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Nate Sauder

Data Scientist, Enlitic

Develop deep learning algorithms for medical image diagnosis

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Feng “Bill” Shi

Post-doctoral Scholar, Knowledge Lab

My background is in applied mathematics, and complex networks in particular. I have been working on various interacting particle systems such as the evolving voter model, percolation of nanocomposites, and virus-antibody interactions.

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Taweewat "Champ" Somboonpanyakul

PhD Student, Physics, MIT

I am a PhD student in Physics at MIT. I am originally from Thailand. I have some experience in Astrophysics, specifically gravitational lensing and exoplanets, but I am also interested in social parts of science, and, in particular, how humans gather new knowledge in science.

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Misha Teplitskiy

Postdoctoral Fellow, Harvard University

I graduated with a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Chicago. I was a Graduate Research Fellow at KnowledgeLab. My research focuses on academic publishing, particularly on how scientists evaluate the work of others. How do scientists decide if a finding is worthy of publication, and how valid are these judgments?  To answer these questions I examine the peer review files of academic journals using a variety of machine learning and text processing techniques.

I am also engaged in a variety of collaborative projects. In a KnowledgeLab project with James Evans, we test the robustness of a large sample of claims published in social science journals by testing them on out-of-sample data and “perturbing” the model specifications. In another KnowledgeLab project with Eamon Duede and Grace Lu, we study which scientific findings move from the scientific literature to Wikipedia.

A word of biography: I grew up in Ukraine and moved with my family to Texas, where I attended Rice University to study physics and mathematics. During that time I participated in research on plasma waves at Los Alamos National Laboratory and quantum phase transitions at Rice. Near the end of my undergraduate years I discovered the exciting fields of mathematical and computational social science and began a PhD in sociology at the University of Chicago in 2008.

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