# Exploring the Intersection of Computer Science and Social Science: Matthew Salganik’s Bit by Bit
We live in a world where data is everywhere. From the news we consume, to the conversations we have, to the decisions we make, data is an integral part of our lives. But how can we use this data to gain insight into social issues and inform policy decisions? Matthew Salganik, professor at Princeton University and author of Bit by Bit: Social Research in the Digital Age, has explored this intersection of computer science and social science for the past five years. In this blog post, we’ll explore the legacy of his book, the evolution of the field of computational social science, and the resources available to those interested in learning more.
## The Legacy of Bit by Bit
Matthew Salganik’s Bit by Bit explores the merging worlds of computer science and social science for timely, policy relevant research in the 21st century. In the book, Salganik shows how traditional research techniques in the social sciences can sometimes be combined with digital tools and big data to generate high-quality evidence on a larger scale, in less time, and at a much lower cost. On the five-year anniversary of his book’s release, Salganik, who is also a member of Mathematica’s Board of Directors, spoke with On the Evidence about the book’s legacy and the evolution of the field of computational social science since he first taught a course on the subject in 2007.
## The Evolution of Computational Social Science
Since the release of Bit by Bit, the field of computational social science has continued to evolve. There have been a number of new developments, including the Howard-Mathematica Summer Institute on Computational Social Science (SICSS), which Salganik was a part of. The SICSS was designed to increase diversity in the field of computational social science by providing training and mentoring to a cohort of students from underrepresented backgrounds. Additionally, Salganik has given a TEDx talk at Princeton University about the tension between ready-made data (big data) and custom-made data (with which social scientists usually work).
## Resources for Exploring Computational Social Science
If you’re interested in exploring the intersection of computer science and social science and learning more about Salganik’s work, there are a number of resources available. You can read a free online version of Salganik’s book, Bit by Bit, and attend a virtual book talk on February 7, 2023 about Bit by Bit, including a Q&A with the author, hosted by the Washington, D.C. chapter of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. You can also listen to a previous On the Evidence episode about the Howard-Mathematica SICSS, which features Salganik, and watch Salganik give a Tedx talk at Princeton University about the tension between ready-made data (big data) and custom-made data (with which social scientists usually work). Finally, you can learn more about Salganik and his appointment in 2018 as a member of Mathematica’s Board of Directors.
Whether you’re a computer scientist, social scientist, or just someone interested in learning more, there are a wealth of resources available to explore the intersection of computer science and social science. By understanding the legacy of Salganik’s book and the evolution of the field of computational social science, we can gain valuable insight into how data can be used to inform policy decisions and explore social issues.