The digital revolution has not only revolutionized human communication, but also the way we can study it. As the massive digital footprint becomes increasingly available with tremendous granularity and precision, we are able to address core questions in communication studies in new ways. The Computational Communication Research Lab (C^2 lab or C-square lab) is focused on using digital trace data, computer simulations and other computational social science methods to examine fundamental questions in communication. Some ongoing projects include: online social networks in massively multiplayer online games, peer production on Wikipedia, gender dynamics in virtual worlds, tweets and citizen protests, network dynamics of world Wide Web, physician rating website, mobile app usage patterns, and the development of open source software and hardware tools for experimental research.

Our Lab is part of the Department of Communication at the University of California, Davis, and was established in 2014 as one of the first institutionalized efforts in this quickly growing area of global research activity.

If you are interested in our PhD program, please contact us directly. We are happy to explore topics and conditions.


Funded graduate position in the computational social science of online organization and governance with Prof. Seth Frey. More info here.

New online course:
UCCSS (University of California Computational Social Science).
It is the first online course taught collectively by Professors from all 10 UC campuses (about UCCSS).
The UC-internal course was converted into a 5-course MOOC Specialization on Coursera: more than 20,000 learners joined during the first Semester and it's flagship intro course became part of the top-100 Best Online Classes of All Times 9 months after it's initial offering in 2020.
All courses offered by C^2 faculty

C^2 Lab contributed with 6 presentations to the International Conference on Computational Social Science in Amsterdam, July 2019

Five students have spent 3 months on a Data Science project for the United Nations Secretariat in Latin America and the Caribbean, in Santiago de Chile.

In 2019, the Department of Communication strengthened its computational research capacity by hiring Dr. Richard Huskey, who pursues computational methods for cognitive communication; and in 2018 Dr. Seth Frey, who pursues computational approaches to institutional analysis and strategic behavior.


Some recent talks


We run several projects with both graduate and undergraduate students. Our undergraduate students usually sign up for directed group studies, often as a follow up as one of our upper division classes, such as CMN110 (Communication Networks), CMN 174 (Social Media), or the online courses CMN 150V (UC Computational Social Science) and CMN 170V (Digital Technology & Social Change). Students set out to gain research experience by collecting and analyzing evidence about innovative aspects of computational communication science.


Some recent publications & pre-prints.
Gil Lopez, Shen, et al. (2018). One Size Fits All: Context Collapse, Self-Presentation Strategies and Language Styles on Facebook. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication.
Exodus to the real world? Shen & Cage (2015)
Predicting internat. Facebook ties. Barnett & Benefield (2015)
Frey & Goldstone (2018) Cognitive mechanisms for human flocking dynamics. Journal of Computational Social Science.