QuaSSI's core program is its predoctoral fellowship, funding PhD students for a year-long fellowship designed to facilitate multidisciplinary opportunities for additional training and experience in quantitative methods for social science. QuaSSI predoctoral fellows pursue methods-related research projects, deliver methods-related workshops and seminars, and are integrated into a diverse set of QuaSSI activities, including the Big Data Social Science program. Recent predocs have worked on projects involving such topics as forecasting, measurement models, Bayesian networks, causal inference, social network analysis, statistical learning, text analytics, dynamic factor analysis, survival analysis, spatial statistics, directional statistics, parallel computing, and agent-based modeling. Since 2004, QuaSSI has supported 30 predocs from political science, sociology, anthropology, psychology, demography, statistics, computer science, neuroscience, and kinesiology. Alumni of the QuaSSI predoctoral program have in recent years gone on to earn tenure-track positions in institutions (including the University of California at Davis, the University of Minnesota, the University of Iowa, the University of Pittsburgh, Michigan State University, Louisiana State University, the University of Missouri, and Essex University), prestigious postdoctoral fellowships (including at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Michigan, Johns Hopkins University, Princeton University, and Harvard University), and research and data science positions in the private and public sectors (including at Google, Match.com, IBM Research, Verisk Maplecroft, and the United Nations Population Fund). For more information about current and former QuaSSI predocs and their research, please visit the "People" page of the website.
QuaSSI's largest ongoing activity is the Big Data Social Science (BDSS) program, a $6m graduate research and training effort seeded by a $3m grant from the National Science Foundation's IGERT program. Since 2012, BDSS has supported 25 PhD students from political science, geography, statistics, sociology, information science, human development, health policy, and demography for a two-year trainig program involving a new curriculum, multidisciplinary research rotations, hackathons and challenges, and externships. BDSS has a core mission of defining a new model and role for social science research and education, now instantiated in the Program in Social Data Analytics (SoDA), offering dual-title PhDs, a PhD minor, and a Bachelor of Science beginning in 2016.
QuaSSI hosts and conducts a variety of events, including workshops, seminars and conferences. Since 2012, most visiting speakers and similar events have been affiliated with the Big Data Social Science Speaker Series. Since 2008, QuaSSI's signature event has been the New Faces in Political Methodology conference, which brings eight or so graduate students and postdocs -- 68 to date -- from other departments to Penn State, both to assist them with their transition into careers as methodology scholars and to connect Penn State students and faculty with the next generation of methodology scholars. All QuaSSI events are open to any interested members of the Penn State community. For information on upcoming and past events, please visit the "Events" page. To learn about future events, please subscribe to our mailing list.
QuaSSI's physical home is "The Databasement," a new collaboratory facility located in the Sparks Building in central campus featuring high performance and visualization workstations and 10G fiber connection to the university research network and research computing infrastructure, including a Hadoop cluster, administered by the Advanced CyberInfrastucture (ACI) unit of the Institute for CyberSciences (ICS). Before the renovation, this space appeared at #3 on Onward State's list of "10 Creepy Places You Never Noticed on Campus," but now serves as a model for recovery and revitalization of space in the crowded central campus core.
QuaSSI participates directly in strategic planning surrounding methodology and analytics efforts for the College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Political Science (ranked #14 in political methodology by US News in 2013), and the Program in Social Data Analytics, and has been represented through its directors and affiliates on cross-department and cross-college advisory boards and similar activities of the Social Science Research Institute (including the Innovative Methods Initiative, the Computational and Spatial Analysis Core, and infrastructure efforts including the Census Research Data Center), the Institute for CyberScience (including the CyberScience Task Force and subsequent faculty hiring initiatives, and cyberinfrastructure efforts including the CyberSTAR computing cluster and research network), the Methodology Center (College of Health and Human Development), the Strategic Interdisciplinary Research Office (SIRO) in the Office of the Vice President for Research, and the Graduate School Office of Graduate Educational Equity Programs (including AGEP and other STEM education initiatives).
QuaSSI is directed by Burt Monroe, Professor of Political Science, Information Sciences & Technology, and Social Data Analytics. QuaSSI was founded in 2004, as the Social Science Statistics Partnership (SSSP), by Professor Suzanna Linn of the Department of Political Science. The QuaSSI predoctoral program is made possible by funding and other support from the College of Liberal Arts and the Department of Political Science.