Computing Human Society through the Global News

SBP 2015 Grand Data Challenge
March 31 – April 3, 2015, UCDC Center, Washington DC, USA


This year's SBP Grand Challenge problem asks participants to consider the following question, "how can we use publicly available data on the web and elsewhere to find social inequality and to aid the disadvantaged?"

From the Arab Spring to the recent Gamergate scandal, the use of social media in understanding and mitigating social inequalities and prejudice has increased at a rapid pace.  At the same time, data used for decades to study the ways in which social inequalities permeate every facet of social structure have become increasingly accessible. While many have taken advantage of these resources to produce new and interesting approaches to understanding social inequalities and ways to prevent them, there is much interesting and useful work still to be done. For example, the following questions may be of interest:

  • How are stereotypes of disadvantaged individuals perpetuated in social media?
  • How do differing levels of Internet access affect the presence and attitude of individuals online?
  • How has the distribution of poverty changed over time as American cities have grown, and how has this affected the impoverished population in a negative or positive way?

These are by no means the only questions of interest, and are only intended to give a rough idea of what might be an interesting topic to explore for this challenge problem.


All submissions must be in the form of a 4-6 page single column paper with a minimum font size of 10. Note that only the abstract will be included in the proceedings, and thus should not conflict with any concurrent or future submissions of this work to other venues. Submissions will be judged by a based on their novelty, adherence to relevant social science literature, and technical rigor.

All submissions must be made to our submission site,

Important Dates

  • Paper Submission January 20th, 2015 February 1, 2015
  • Winner Notification February 28th, 2015
  • SBP 2015 Conference March 31st – April 3rd, 2015


This year's winners will receive $1,000 in travel funding to present their work at the conference, a $300 cash prize, and plaques declaring their victory in the competition. Second place will receive a $200 cash prize.

Example Datasets

We have provided some sample datasets to get contestants started on their submissions. These datasets are merely intended to provide a starting point, and are not required for the submission. Contestants are encouraged to provide their own datasets for the community. All of the datasets that follow are available on the SBP Grand Challenge website (

  • Ferguson Protests - Tweets pertaining to 2014 protest activity in Ferguson, Missouri. Contains 1.1M Tweets 7-14 days after the first protests. The full list of Tweet IDs, as well as the Tweet crawler can be found here:
  • Census Data - The US Census department provides an API ( to quickly access large volumes of census data.
  • Gamergate - Tweets pertaining to the Gamergate scandal collected by Andy Baio for his article about the incident (
  • Social Computing Repository - Contains data from a collection of social media sites including Digg, Foursquare, and Twitter. Data can be obtained from (


Please direct all questions to the SBP Grand Challenge Committee at