Edgar Franco-Vivanco

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Edgar Franco-Vivanco is an Assistant Professor of Political Science and a faculty associate at the Center for Political Studies. His research interests include Latin American politics, historical political economy, criminal violence, and indigenous politics.

Prof. Franco-Vivanco is interested in implementing machine learning tools to improve the analysis of historical data, in particular handwritten documents. He is also working in the application of text analysis to study indigenous languages. In a parallel research agenda, he explores how marginalized communities interact with criminal organizations and abusive policing in Latin America. As part of this research, he is using NLP tools to identify different types of criminal behavior.

Examples of the digitization process of handwritten documents from colonial Mexico.

Yixin Wang

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Yixin Wang works in the fields of Bayesian statistics, machine learning, and causal inference, with applications to recommender systems, text data, and genetics. She also works on algorithmic fairness and reinforcement learning, often via connections to causality. Her research centers around developing practical and trustworthy machine learning algorithms for large datasets that can enhance scientific understandings and inform daily decision-making. Her research interests lie in the intersection of theory and applications.

Elle O’Brien

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My research focuses on building infrastructure for public health and health science research organizations to take advantage of cloud computing, strong software engineering practices, and MLOps (machine learning operations). By equipping biomedical research groups with tools that facilitate automation, better documentation, and portable code, we can improve the reproducibility and rigor of science while scaling up the kind of data collection and analysis possible.

Research topics include:
1. Open source software and cloud infrastructure for research,
2. Software development practices and conventions that work for academic units, like labs or research centers, and
3. The organizational factors that encourage best practices in reproducibility, data management, and transparency

The practice of science is a tug of war between competing incentives: the drive to do a lot fast, and the need to generate reproducible work. As data grows in size, code increases in complexity and the number of collaborators and institutions involved goes up, it becomes harder to preserve all the “artifacts” needed to understand and recreate your own work. Technical AND cultural solutions will be needed to keep data-centric research rigorous, shareable, and transparent to the broader scientific community.

View MIDAS Faculty Research Pitch, Fall 2021


Xu Shi

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My methodological research focus on developing statistical methods for routinely collected healthcare databases such as electronic health records (EHR) and claims data. I aim to tackle the unique challenges that arise from the secondary use of real-world data for research purposes. Specifically, I develop novel causal inference methods and semiparametric efficiency theory that harness the full potential of EHR data to address comparative effectiveness and safety questions. I develop scalable and automated pipelines for curation and harmonization of EHR data across healthcare systems and coding systems.

Lisa Levinson

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My research interests are in natural language semantics and psycholinguistics, focusing on verbs. I conduct behavioral psycholinguistic experiments with methodologies such as self-paced reading and maze tasks, as well as surveys of linguistic and semantic judgments. I also study semantic variation using corpora and datasets such as the Twitter Decahose, to better understand how words have developed diverging meanings in different communities, age groups, or regions. I use primarily R and Python to collect, manage, and analyze data. I direct the UM WordLab in the linguistics department, working with students (especially undergraduates) on experimental and computational research focusing on lexical representations.

Zhongming Liu

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My research is at the intersection of neuroscience and artificial intelligence. My group uses neuroscience or brain-inspired principles to design models and algorithms for computer vision and language processing. In turn, we uses neural network models to test hypotheses in neuroscience and explain or predict human perception and behaviors. My group also develops and uses machine learning algorithms to improve the acquisition and analysis of medical images, including functional magnetic resonance imaging of the brain and magnetic resonance imaging of the gut.

We use brain-inspired neural networks models to predict and decode brain activity in humans processing information from naturalistic audiovisual stimuli.

Gregory S. Miller

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Greg’s research primarily investigates information flow in financial markets and the actions of agents in those markets – both consumers and producers of that information. His approach draws on theory from the social sciences (economics, psychology and sociology) combined with large data sets from diverse sources and a variety of data science approaches. Most projects combine data from across multiple sources, including commercial data bases, experimentally created data and extracting data from sources designed for other uses (commercial media, web scrapping, cellphone data etc.). In addition to a wide range of econometric and statistical methods, his work has included applying machine learning , textual analysis, mining social media, processes for missing data and combining mixed media.

Somangshu Mukherji

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Somangshu (Sam) Mukherji, PhD, is Assistant Professor of Music Theory in the School of Music, Theatre & Dance at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

Sam Mukherji‘s work lies at the interface of traditional Western tonal theory, the theory and practice of popular and non-Western idioms, and the cognitive science of music. Within this framework, the main focus of his research has been on the prolongational, grammatical aspects of Western tonality, and their connection to the tonal structures of Indian music, and the blues-based traditions within rock and metal. This emphasis makes his work similar to that of a linguist who explores relationships between the world’s languages-and, therefore, Mukherji’s research has been influenced in particular by ideas from linguistic theory as well, especially the Minimalist Program in contemporary generative linguistics. For this reason, he has investigated connections not only between different musical idioms but also between music and language-and musical and linguistic theory-more generally. Much of his work explores overlaps between Minimalist linguistics, and related, generative approaches within music theory (such as those found in the writings of Heinrich Schenker), and he has also written extensively about what such ‘musicolinguistic’ connections imply for the wider study of human musical behavior, cognition, and evolution.