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Research Development Seminar Series: Caglar Koylu

March 23, 2023
12:00 PM – 1:00 PM
008 Public Policy Research Building

What Would a Giant Family Tree with 40 Million Relatives Mean for Social Science and Public Policy?

Genealogy is a personal interest to many people who want to know who their ancestors were, when, and where they lived. Looking at census records, birth, death, and marriage certificates, and genealogy books and records of others, these individuals follow a paper trail to their past. They also share their family trees publicly to do this difficult task collectively and merge their trees with others. What if you could connect your family tree to all other trees to obtain one giant family tree that could potentially link individuals across a nation, or perhaps the world? In this presentation, Koylu will first discuss efforts to clean, connect, and deduplicate crowdsourced family trees to produce the largest connected family tree to date, containing 40 million individuals. Second, he will explain how he uses family trees to study migration and kinship networks. Finally, he will conclude by providing some insights into how family trees could help study diverse research topics in social science and implement public policies.

Caglar Koylu is an assistant professor in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Sciences. His research interests lie at the intersection of computational and visual analytical methods, big data analytics, and usability in geovisualization. He is particularly interested in the development of new theory, methodologies and applications to analyze and understand large geo-social networks, such as population-scale kinship networks (family trees), human mobility and migration, and commodity and information flows. His work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and National Institute of Health and published in numerous journals.


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