Edward Newell


I'm a PhD Candidate in Computer Science At McGill University. On this site, you'll find my research interests, publications, and posts about things that I found interesting or useful.

Recent Cool Stuff

For fast on-demand sampling from large categorical distributions, pip install categorical, and check out the API examples, and the benchmark against numpy.

An implementation of word2vec in Python using Lasagne and Theano: pip install theano-word2vec or git clone https://github.com/enewe101/word2vec.git, then check out the API examples. Extend it or incorporate it into your Lasagne neural architectures.

Research Interests

The dynamics of large populations—from social movements to natural disasters—now unfolds in the digital commons. My research is motivated by a desire to understand collective behavior. I pursue that end using social media and open data sources, coupled with machine learning, and models of human behavior.

There are two major challenges in understanding collective dynamics. One is to understand and model the underlying mechanisms. The other is to decode the streams of data that carry information about populations—information like tweets, Reddit posts, or Instagram photos. This decoding involves training computers, using machine learning, to understand the meaning and significance of such content.

My PhD work focuses on text understanding, specifically on understanding how a particular article or set of articles frames an event, and how it depicts interactions between agents. My work combines natural language processing, neural networks, and communication theory, to build systems that understand the depiction of relationships between entities in text.

Recently I investigated how US residents differ geographically in how they frame immigration and US relations with Latin American countries. Currently I am working on a neural architecture that learns embeddings for entities and their relationships, using a word2vec-inspired approach.


Edward Newell, Derek Ruths. Using Relational Framing to Characterize Geographical Differences in Views on Immigration. Workshop on Social Media in Demographics Research, 2016.

Edward Newell, Derek Ruths. How One Microtask Affects Another. ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2016

Edward Newell, Stefan Dimitrov, Andrew Piper, Derek Ruths. To Buy or to Read: How a Platform Shapes Reviewing Behavior. AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 2016.

Edward Newell, David Jurgens, Haji Mohammad Saleem, Hardik Vala, Jad Sassine, Caitrin Armstrong, and Derek Ruths. User Migration in Online Social Networks: A Case Study on Reddit During a Period of Community Unrest. AAAI Conference on Web and Social Media, 2016.