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Matthew Rattigan on Obama For America analytics team

Fri November 9, 2012

CS Alum Matthew Rattigan (Ph.D. '12) held an important behind-the-scenes role on the Obama For America (OFA) campaign as a member of the digital group within the analytics department.  His group focused on the online aspects of the campaign (email, social media, etc.).  Rattigan's work was primarily centered on using Facebook to reach people through their network of supporters, culminating in a massive get-out-the-vote campaign on election day.  He worked with Ph.D.s from statistics, political science, physics, and computer science all working together and trying to change the way campaigns are run.

"We found that in many cases, the messenger is just as important as the message itself," says Rattigan. "People are much more likely to act (volunteer, attend and event, or even vote) when the request comes from a trusted friend rather than someone they've never met on a mailing list."

For more details (and a photo showing Rattigan standing among the OFA team at campaign headquarters in Chicago), see the Time article:  http://swampland.time.com/2012/11/07/inside-the-secret-world-of-quants-and-data-crunchers-who-helped-obama-win/.

Rattigan, advised by Associate Professor David Jensen, was a member of the Knowledge Discovery Laboratory while at UMass Amherst. His research focuses on learning causal models with relational data.