Walk us through your resume: how did you get into the topic of your course?
Over the years I have found out that abundant data always surprises us. We always begin with priors about the findings of our research, which are often confirmed in small datasets and often disproved in large datasets. Rich multidimensional datasets defy common sense because we are forced to deal with smaller mechanisms that are often overlooked. Therefore, readers of my resume will notice that generally I have been working with more data than was common in the discipline at any given time. Whenever I start to research on a subject (elections, congress, patronage, social media), I tend to go overboard to get good, rich, data, that has not yet been used.
What will students learn by attending your classes?
Students will learn how to model interesting political questions when data is abundant. How to extract meaningful political answers using half a million law initiatives in Congress. How to augment data to model seats and votes. How to understand the propagation of political messages with millions of tweets. Data analytics is a resource, not an end. Big data is an advantage, not the goal.
How would your students describe you?
I like politics and data, in that order. So humor is essential to make the former light and the later accesible. I have an excellent poker face and students often have a hard time to distinguish joke from tragedy. However, as my students will tell, I insist on telling jokes.
Please, tell us something about yourself that’s not on your resume.
I am a big fan of scyfi books.