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About Me

I am an assistant professor of Information Systems at the Boston University Questrom School of Business. While I am a theoretical physicist by training, I apply mathematical and computational tools from statistical physics to large-scale empirical and data-oriented research in computational social science, business and economics. After my Ph.D. and prior to joining the faculty at Questrom, I worked as a post-doctoral research associated at NYU Stern with some wonderful people, including Sinan Aral, Lev Muchnik, and Sean Taylor. If you'd like to know more, have a peek at my CV, check my selected published papers below or see my google scholar page for a complete list of publications. You can also find me at rare times on twitter @dylanwalker.

My Research

My research broadly seeks to understand the role of networks and networked system, enabled by information technology, in the diffusion of information, behaviors and dynamic processes. As the penetration of online and mobile technologies contines to advance, instant messaging, mobile phone communications, micro-blogs and online social networks are shaping how we interact with the world and each other, creating new dynamics around information and behavior. At the same time, our day-to-day activities are becoming increasingly embedded in new sociotechnical systems that permit research into behaviors and their social and economic outcomes at an unprecedented scale and level of detail, orders of magnitude greater than what was previously possible. My research aims to develop an empirical understanding of these dynamics and how we can leverage this to shape new policies and incentive structures that promote or discourage behavioral outcomes at the individual, community and population level. The development of new techniques and clever experimental designs are needed in order to analyze the rich digital traces of human behavior and to capture and measure the causal effect of social interactions.

Interests

  • Design and Analysis of Randomized Experiments in Networks
  • Social Influence and Peer Effects in Online Social Networks
  • The Interactions of Social Media and Television

Selected Publications

Zhu, K., Walker, D., & Muchnik, L., “Content Growth and Attention: A Natural Experiment on Wikipedia.” Working Paper.

Chen, C. & Walker, D., “A Bitter Pill to Swallow: The Impact of Patient Evaluation on Online Health Q&A Platforms.” Working Paper.

Livneh, N., Walker, D., & Muchnik, L., “The Impact of Labeling Unverified Reviews: A Natural Experiment on the Steam Platform.” Working Paper.

Anderson, B., Hair, M., Groshek, J., Krishna, A., and Walker, D. (in press) “Understanding and Diagnosing Antimicrobial Resistance on Social Media: A Yearlong Overview of Data and Analytics.”, Health Communication.

Walker, D. and Muchnik, L. “Design of Randomized Experiments in Networks.” Proceedings of IEEE, 04 Nov 2014 102(12) pp. 1940-1951.

Aral, S. & Walker, D. “Tie Strength, Embeddedness & Social Influence: A Large-Scale Networked Experiment.” Management Science, 21 April 2014, 60(6) pp. 1352-1370.

Aral, S. & Walker, D. “An Experimental Method for Identifying Influential and Susceptible Members of Online Social Networks.” Science, 20 July 2012: Vol. 337 no. 6092 pp. 337-341.

Aral, S. & Walker, D. 2011. “Creating Social Contagion through Viral Product Design: A Randomized Trial of Peer Influence in Networks.” Management Science August, 2011. *Selected as an Editor’s Choice article by the editors of Science

Aral, S. & Walker, D. 2011. “Identifying Social Influence in Networks Using Randomized Experiments.” IEEE Intelligent Systems 26 (5), Sep.-Oct. 2011.

Aral, S. & Walker, D. 2011. “Forget Viral Marketing: Make the Product Itself Viral.” Harvard Business Review, 89 (6); June 34-35.

K.K. Yan, D. Walker, S. Maslov 2008. “Fluctuations in Mass-Action Equilibrium of Protein Binding Networks”, Physical Review Letters, 101 (268102) 2008.

D. Walker, H. Xie, K.K. Yan, S. Maslov 2007. “Ranking Scientific Publications Using a Model of Network Traffic”, Journal of Statistical Mechanics, 6 (10) 2007.

Patents

Patent 20140310058: Identifying Influential and Susceptible Members of Social Networks

Provisional Patent 62/372,480: Method of identifying repetitive patterns in big data and system thereof