Sep Kamvar: Social Interfaces, Social Algorithms, and Social Languages

SepKamvarTue, May 14, 6:30pm – 9:00pm


Social computing has come to refer to three things: the development of algorithms that use personal and social features, the mining of social data, and the building of systems that interact with networks of people. These three branches tend to have quite different technical challenges. I’ll discuss one problem from each area to highlight both the differences and the overlap between the three branches, and I’ll discuss the challenges that this new field poses to research in numerical linear algebra, machine learning, human-computer interaction, and programming languages.


Sep Kamvar is the LG Associate Professor of Media Arts and Sciences at MIT and Director of the Social Computing Group at the MIT Media Lab.

Prior to MIT, Sep was the head of personalization at Google and a consulting professor of Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University. Prior to that, he was founder and CEO of Kaltix, a personalized search company that was acquired by Google in 2003.

Sep is the author of two books and over 40 technical publications in the fields of search and social computing. His artwork has been exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Victoria and Albert Musem in London, and the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Athens.

Sep received his Ph.D. in Scientific Computing and Computational Mathematics from Stanford University and his A.B. in Chemistry from Princeton University.