ISI Directory

Keith Burghardt, Ph.D.

Computer Scientist


Ph.D., Physics, University of Maryland, College Park
B.S., Physics (Magna Cum Laude with High Honors), University of Maryland, College Park


Burghardt is a Computer Scientist at the USC Information Sciences Institute who specializes in understanding human behavior with physics-inspired models. Burghardt received a 2021 ISI Meritorious Service Award and 2016 ISI Director’s Intern Award, and has papers in several high-tier venues, such as NPJ Computational Materials, Communications Physics, CSCW, ICWSM, and ASONAM. Burghardt is a PI and co-PI for several grants, such as the USC + Amazon Center on Secure and Trusted Machine Learning award and the DARPA AIE Modeling Influence Pathways (MIPs). He co-organized the INTERSPEECH 2022 special session, Inclusive and Fair Speech Technologies and has led outreach programs including the S3B2-ML summer school and ISI AI Division seminar series. Burghardt received a PhD in Physics and B.S. in Physics (Magna Cum Laude with High Honors) at the University of Maryland in 2016 and 2012, respectively.

Research Summary

Keith Burghardt's research mainly involves understanding biases in social media and human geospatial patterns. Social media is filled with biases related to what people see and what they in turn believe, including believing the first thing they see ("primacy"), believing negative content ("negatively biased credulity") as well as the content they are shown ("echo chambers"). Burghardt's recent research involves how these biases can enhance hate, anti-vaccine sentiment, or be exploited by bad actors through information campaigns. Social media also contains strong geospatial constraints related to where people live - where they work strongly influences the type of people they commonly interact with. Geospatial biases are even more widespread, however, as where you live has strong impacts on outcomes later in life. This leads into Burghardt's other interest: historical geospatial data, which dictates how geospatial patterns we see have developed. He has explored historical data to extract how commuting (road networks) have evolved over time, as well as how large and small cities strongly impact the local infrastructure, economy, and wildlife, which in turn affects human behavior and quality of life.


2021: ISI Meritorious Service Award
2018: SIAM Travel Award - NS18
2018: International Conference on Computational Social Science (IC2S2) Scholarship
2016: ISI Director’s Intern Award
2015: Conference on Complex Systems Starred Paper Award
2012-2014: University of Maryland Dean’s Fellowship