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PhD in Indiana(Complex Systems) vs Northeastern(Network Science) vs Northwestern (Communications)


arefindk
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I am interested in quantifying social systems using the methods of networks science. I have got admission to Informatics PhD (Complex Systems) in Indiana, Northeastern Network Science PhD and Northwestern (Media, Technology and Society). In all of them I have got full funding.

I know giants like professor Barabasi and Vespignani is in Northeastern but I do not have any information on how closely a PhD student can work with such big names. The Northwestern program is very prestigious but they focus more on sociology than quantification. Then again Indiana has a very good reputation in complex system field and I liked the works of some of the Assistant Professors there. Should I go for big names, prestige or upcoming faculty with interesting research works?

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Re: working with big names - I'd take a look at current PhD students and see (1) Who advises them; (2) If they have co-publications with the big-name profs. If you've been admitted, you can also just ask to talk to those profs. Whether or not they agree to speak with you is probably a good cue regarding how interested they are in your application and how willing they are to mentor incoming students.

 

Personally, I'm a big fan of junior faculty because they tend to have more time and energy to spend on students (but I am a prospective student for F15, so I have no idea how working with junior faculty will play out on the job market). 

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  • 1 month later...

I think Northeastern is much more better. Boston is a great city and can put you in contact with prominent researchers. In addition, Complex Networks lab in Northeastern is the leading core of network science.

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  • 1 month later...

Thank you all for your suggestions. I am actually going to Northeastern as I feel the place is a hub for Network Science Research right now.

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  • 8 months later...

arefindk,
I'd argue it depends more on what you want to do. If you're interested in the intersection of the digital humanities and complex systems, Indiana has the best opportunities in the country. Between the History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine, digitization efforts through the HathiTrust Research Collaborative and the IU Library System itself, you can't ask for a more coherent and effective approach (beyond the wealth of knowledge of professors in informatics such as Simon DeDeo as well as those in the College of Arts and Science).
If you're looking for biologically-inspired computing, or related concepts, you'll be hard pressed at Northeastern to engage with a properly integrated medical school. Professors such as Luis Rocha, Predrag Radivojac and others have been working heavily with professors at the IU Medical Center in Indianapolis, not to mention the Regenstrief Institute (home to the largest stable repositories of heterogeneous medical records in the country, period.).
If you want specifically network science, you still have heavyweights (such as Filippo Menczer, YY Ahn and Johan Bollen) working in the realm of social media, collective intelligence and economic systems/decision psychology. It's not a tough decision when you're trying to put together a research committee that has sufficient breadth to push you towards mastery of concepts that you'd want to go to Indiana to do network science.
Beyond any of this, Indiana has unimpeachable connections to the Santa Fe Institute, a must when you're looking for networking opportunities within the complex systems community.

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  • 4 weeks later...

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