Humanitarian & Social Informatics Lab, GMU
Humanitarian, Semantics & Informatics Lab (@Human_Info_Lab)
Information Sciences & Technology department, George Mason University

Congratulations to Dr. Prakruthi Karuna for graduation and best wishes for starting a research scientist position at Perspecta!
Check news on the 2019 AAAI Fall Symposium on AI for Social Good at: link
Check the Web of People track at IEEE/WIC/ACM Web Intelligence 2019: details


We study Humanitarian and Social Informatics via the interdisciplinary science of design, analysis, and evaluation of information systems for organizations that are concerned with the welfare and governance of society. Our research aim is to create new knowledge in the semantic, structured information representation and processing of unstructured data and designing solutions to the fundamental challenge of information overload in realtime decision support for organizations.

Our lab researches basic human behavior modeling problems to address the information overload challenge (check projects) by mining online social and Web as well as offline data sources with text mining and machine learning methods guided by domain semantics and socio-psychological theories. We strive to conduct foundational research and evaluate that with real-world applications in the crisis management cycle from mitigation to response and recovery of natural (e.g., hurricanes), societal (e.g., migration, gender stereotyping) and human (e.g., terrorism, cyber warfare) crises. Some of our ongoing research projects investigate the following questions:

  • How do we intend? - improving crisis management by understanding user intent (e.g., public seeking help during hurricanes) relevant to organizational decision support in smart resilient communities.
  • How do we cooperate? - improving collaboration between the humans and machine bots (e.g., during an incident response) as well as between organizations (e.g., non-profits with similar missions to eradicate violence and hate) on social web platforms.
  • How do we comprehend? - improving semantic comprehension of unstructured content to reduce cognitive overload from exposure to massive data streams (e.g., filtering social media during hurricanes) as well as to intentionally create such overload (e.g., for cyber attackers to defend intellectual properties).

Datasets for academic and research communities are available here:

Research Projects

Natural Crises:

Cooperative System
Mining Social Media to aid Coordination
Cooperation between Citizens and Organizations in Smart Cities
(Intent Mining and Realtime Social Computing)
Social media, Web and Internet of Things have revolutionized information generation, transmission, and consumption, especially unstructured data, which has presented an information overload challenge for answering a variety of questions for organizational sensemaking. This project investigates the basic questions of organizational decision support and cooperation using novel behavioral data analytics methods, such as how to quantify actionable information attributes in the data streams to help articulated organizational work, how to extract information for such articulation tasks, whom to trust and engage in the online community for information, etc.
Collaborators: Fairfax County Fire & Rescue, Virginia; Montogomery CERT

Project Supported by: NSF award #1657379 (CRII: CHS: Mining Intentions on Social Media to Enhance Situational Awareness of Crisis Response Organizations) NSF award #1815459 (III: Summarizing Heterogeneous Crowdsourced & Web Streams Using Uncertain Concept Graphs), and Research Council of Norway award #261685 (INTPART: Transnational Partnership for Excellent Research and Education in Big Data and Emergency Management)

Selected Publications:

Societal Crises:

Attitude & Belief Mining
Gender-based Violence a global problem
User attitudes & Engagement
(Semantic Machine Learning)
Do you know that gender-based violence is a public health crisis and what are its impact on the policies and healthcare system? Do you wonder why people migrate from certain regions and what are the implications of migration? The objective of this project is to reduce information overload for responding (non-)governmental organizations in gleaning insights about public awareness and attitudes towards societal crises prevalent in the modern age (e.g., views on violence against women and narratives about refugee migration), in order to inform the organizations in their evaluation of awareness campaigns, intervention support, and policy design practices.
Collaborators: Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, Geneva; The Port Association by CERN Researchers, Geneva

Project Partially Supported By: GMU Startup Funds and NSF award #1707837 (EAGER: Social Media Participation as Indicator of Actors, Awareness, Attitudes, and Activities Related to STEM Education).

Selected Publications:

Human Crises:

Cyber Defense & Information Overload
Request-Offer intentions to help
Comprehension & Cognitive Load
(Semantic Computing)
Can an organization mitigate the crisis of losing intellectual property in response to human-created crisis of cyber attacks? This project investigates how we can create information overload for hackers to prevent them from stealing information by better understanding of information comprehension and cognitive load. Such an approach can improve cyber defense tactices for human crisis management as well as create opportunities to design tools and techniques for managing information overload in any tech-assisted environment.

Project Supported By: Office of Naval Research award #N00014-16-1-2896 (Believable Fake Documents)

Selected Publications:


- Prof. Hemant Purohit
Current Students:
- Rahul Pandey (PhD student, full time)
- Yasas Senarath (PhD student, full time)
- Cooper Jessup (PhD student, part time)
- Habib Karbasian (co-advising PhD student, full time)
- Gaurav Bahl (Grad Research Assistant)
- Ganesh Nalluru (Grad Research Assistant)
- Jitin Krishnan (Grad Research Assistant)
- Oaan Rana (Undergrad Research Assistant)
- Prakruthi Karuna (PhD; currently: Research Scientist, Perspecta)
- Yogen Chaudhari (MS; currently: Senior Data Scientist, Comscore)
- Sharan Banola (MS; currently: Senior Data Analyst, Capital One)
- Voravan Charnsawat (MS; currently: SLS Engineer, Qualitest)
- Mohammad Rana (BS; currently: Senior Software Engineer, Capital One)
- Rishita Guduru (Grad Research Assistant)
- Prashanti Maktala (Grad Research Assistant)
- Zahra Rajabi (Grad Research Assistant)
- Sara Villanueva (Grad Research Assistant)
- Bahman Pedrood (Grad Research Assistant)
- Hridoy Dutta (Visiting PhD Scholar, IIIT Delhi)


Do you like the challenge of addressing real world problems of data analytics for social good and welfare by mining human behavior? If interested for pursuing PhD or MS Thesis, then you can mail at h p u r o h i t _a_t_ g m u _d_o_t_ e d u with your resume, transcripts, and any prior research papers.