The UMass Computational Social Science Institute (CSSI) is a diverse interdisciplinary community of faculty who use computational models and methods to understand the social world. The Institute promotes dialog and collaboration across more than 80 faculty affiliates from over 20 departments in nine colleges at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
The Institute originated in 2010 as an interdisciplinary initiative to hire a cluster of four new faculty in political science, sociology, statistics, and computer science. The initiative continued supporting departments in hiring experts within this rapidly growing interdisciplinary field and nurtured a cross-college community with a regular seminar and other shared events. In 2016, the Faculty Senate approved a proposal to recognize the successful activities of the initiative and create a more permanent institute.
CSSI catalyzes and promotes cross-college research collaborations, grant proposals, and other related activities. It focuses on bringing together faculty from different disciplines whose research activities align but who otherwise might not collaborate. CSSI’s priority is bringing together faculty working in the area of computational social science to create new research projects, rather than directly funding research or administering research funds. Thus, it complements existing research organizations and efforts within UMass departments and colleges.