Northwestern Events Calendar


WED@NICO SEMINAR: Cristian Huepe, Northwestern University "Online opinions and interactions regarding Covid-19 vaccinations: a Complex Systems analysis"

Cristian Huepe

When: Wednesday, November 9, 2022
12:00 PM - 1:00 PM Central

Where: Chambers Hall, Lower Level, 600 Foster St, Evanston, IL 60208 map it

Audience: Faculty/Staff - Student - Public - Post Docs/Docs - Graduate Students

Cost: Free

Contact: Emily Rosman   (847) 491-2527

Group: Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)

Category: Academic, Lectures & Meetings



Cristian Huepe - Adjunct Professor, Engineering Sciences & Applied Mathematics (ESAM), Northwestern University, and External Faculty, Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems (NICO)


Online opinions and interactions regarding Covid-19 vaccinations: a Complex Systems analysis


Digital social networks can significantly affect Covid-19 vaccination campaigns, if well-connected conversations emerge that discourage immunization. Although the information in these platforms could help understand and manage the communities and narratives that influence vaccination, it has rarely been used to help evaluate or guide public health policy.

I will present an interdisciplinary study in which we analyzed all Chilean tweets related to the Covid-19 vaccines and vaccination process produced during a period of 6 months, to examine quantitatively and qualitatively the structure and dynamics of their opinions and interactions in a society that achieved high levels of immunization while experiencing substantial sociopolitical conflict. We trained a machine learning algorithm to score the tweeting accounts from the most pro-vaccine to the most anti-vaccine. We show that four categories with distinct tweeting practices and connectivity naturally emerge: pro-vaccine activists, anti-vaccine activists, and moderates that promote or inhibit vaccination in discussions, which also play a key role. Accounts disfavoring vaccination tend to appear in the periphery of the interaction network, consistent with Chile’s high immunization levels, but are more active in addressing those favoring vaccination than vice-versa, which reveals a potential problem in communication policy. Our results highlight the importance of social networks and online interventions for successful immunization campaigns.

Speaker Bio:

​CHuepeLabs develops research in complex systems, nonequilibrium physical dynamics and quantitative social sciences. Current efforts focus on collective motion, active matter, complex networks, modular-hierarchical evolutionary structures, and opinion formation.

​CHuepeLabs is a global research team centered on the work of Cristián Huepe in Chicago and at NICO (Northwestern Institute on Complex Systems) & ESAM (Applied Math Dept.) at Northwestern University (USA). CHuepeLabs also include collaborative teams at the School of Systems Science of Beijing Normal University (China), the Middle East Technical University ODTÜ/METU (Turkey), and the Social Listening Lab SoL-UC (Chile).


In person: Chambers Hall, 600 Foster Street, Lower Level
Remote option:
Passcode: NICO22

About the Speaker Series:

Wednesdays@NICO is a vibrant weekly seminar series focusing broadly on the topics of complex systems and data science. It brings together attendees ranging from graduate students to senior faculty who span all of the schools across Northwestern, from applied math to sociology to biology and every discipline in-between. Please visit: for information on future speakers.

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