Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Grant Schoenebeck Receives CAREER Award to Develop a Rigorous Theoretical Understanding of Complex Networks

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Assistant Professor Grant Schoenebeck has been awarded an NSF CAREER grant for his research project, "CAREER: Social Networks – Processes, Structures, and Algorithms."

Under the grant, Prof. Schoenebeck will seek to develop a better understanding of social networks through a rigorous theoretical understanding of complex and strategic network processes, network structure, and algorithms for network properties. His project will develop and apply traditional tools, insights, and approaches from theoretical computer science including functional analysis, graph theory, combinatorics, linear algebra, probabilistic analysis, linear and semidefinite program hierarchies, complexity theory, and game theory to the study of network processes and structure.

This project is expected to transform the way social network data is used by developing the technical tools required to achieve a better understanding of specific complex and strategic processes,  identifying network structures that are efficiently verifiable and are useful for understanding nuances in the network processes,  and improving our understanding of certain network processes by explicitly accounting for agents' strategic reasoning.  The technical content of this project will have direct applications to related fields such as probability, economics, sociology, and statistical physics.  Additionally,  a key goal of this project is to move beyond worse-case analysis; if successful, this will pave the way to exporting theoretical computer ideas to many disciplines where their current application is limited due to its fixation on worst-case hardness---in particular fields that feature networks such as biology and epidemiology. Prof. Schoenebeck plans to develop curriculum to introduce computer science topics to high school students and involve undergraduates in his research.

More information about the project is available in Prof. Schoenebeck's CAREER Award Posting by NSF.

Prof. Schoenebeck joined the faculty at Michigan in 2012. His research interests fall in the areas theoretical computer science, linear and semidefinite programs, the intersection of computer science and social networks, the intersection of computer science and economics, NP-complete optimization problems, and computational complexity theory. He has recently been the recipient of a Google Faculty Research Award and a Facebook Faculty Research Award.

Prof. Schoenebeck received his PhD in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley in 2010 and was a Simons postdoctoral fellow at Princeton prior to joining Michigan. He is affiliated with the Theory Laboratory.

About the NSF CAREER Award

The CAREER grant is one of the National Science Foundation's most prestigious awards, conferred for "the early career-development activities of those teacher-scholars who most effectively integrate research and education within the context of the mission of their organization."

Posted: February 18, 2015