2013 Fall News
Dr. Sorin Adam Matei Named Scientific Director
- Dr. Sorin Adam Matei was named Scientific Director for Computational Social Science of the Cyber Center at Purdue University. Dr. Matei is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Brian Lamb School of Communication and Discovery Park Research Fellow. His research focuses on mining large datasets, including one that records all 250 million editorial interventions made to Wikipedia over a period of 10 years, to better understand how spontaneous knowledge production communities and knowledge markets evolve. In his new capacity, Dr. Matei will direct a series of lectures that straddle social, computer, and statistical sciences, will coordinate and stimulate the computational social scientific work at the Cyber Center, will lead research teams seeking federal funds, and will develop cross-disciplinary graduate classes in the emerging field of computational social science.
PPP Helps Resolve 13-year Chieftaincy Dispute in Ghana
- Local citizens and leaders, with the assistance of the Purdue Peace Project (PPP), have helped to peacefully resolve a 13-year chieftaincy dispute in Berekum, Ghana. The announcement was made on September 9th, 2013. In Berekum political violence was imminent due to the two disputing factions of the Berekum Traditional area; the chieftaincy dispute could be used to foment trouble during and after Parliamentary and Presidential elections in Ghana. To help with the situation, the PPP facilitated meetings of members of key actor groups. Out of these meeting, a series of strategies for preventing violence were developed and the Berekum Peace Committee, all local citizens, was formed to enact the activities. The PPP worked with the Berekum Patrons, a group of highly intelligent and well-respected individuals in Ghana, to play an advisory role in strategizing to avert political violence in Berekum. The Purdue Peace Project, directed by Dr. Stacey Connaughton of the Brian Lamb School of Communication, addresses situations in which violence appears to be imminent by empowering local leaders to take immediate action to prevent violence. PPP builds on the experience of local leaders in successfully preventing or ending armed conflict in their countries. The Berekum, Ghana initiative was PPP’s first initiative; since then PPP has taken on many other projects. Currently, PPP has two projects in Liberia, one of which focuses on a natural resource management issue and another that focuses on productively reintegrating pen-pen drivers into civic life. Additionally, PPP is working on an initiative in Nigeria that concentrates on enhancing the relationships among members of the Aluu community and the students of the University of Port Harcourt.