Lars Backstrom

Dept. of Computer Science
Cornell University

I am currently a 4th year graduate student in Cornell's Computer Sciencce Department. My advisor is Jon Kleinberg. I am planning on graduating in the Spring of 2009.

My primary research interests are in data mining and machine learning using large-scale datasets, with an emphasis on Web information, social computing applications, and on-line social networks. These datasets are becoming more and more numerous, and as the Web's reach continues to grow, it is important to understand these datasets for two reasons. First, better understanding of the dynamics of the systems generating the data allows us to improve the systems. For instance, if we better understand how a social network grows, a social network provider can better serve its customers when they try to expand their friends lists. Second, an in-depth understanding of the data allows us to leverage it for a variety of purposes. For instance, by looking at where search queries come we can discover the reach of various topics, ideas, and opinions; and by understanding how new ideas spread on a social network, we can improve marketing efficiency. I am particularly interested in developing new methods and algorithms to deal with these large datasets, answering the subtle and nuanced questions that require a huge amount of data and novel methodology to deal with.

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