Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab

The Humanities Research Center is pleased to announce the establishment of an Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab, to be co-sponsored by the Humanities Research Center and the Data Science Research Center.

All faculty, staff and students are invited to an information session on Wednesday February 24 from 3-4pm in IB2025 (the recording is now available to watch online). A Zoom link will be provided to those who register for the event and are off campus. To register for the information session please fill out the survey here or scan the QR code.


The Interdisciplinary Knowledge Network Lab (IKNL) is proposed as a collaborative network to facilitate research into knowledge architecture, metaknowledge, epistemology, semantic processing, knowledge network analysis and knowledge visualization at DKU. Researchers will use big data analysis, philosophical inquiry, and digital humanities methods to investigate how knowledge is structured, represented, analyzed, modeled, theorized and visualized. They will also draw on emerging research in biosemantics regarding the neurological structures that enable linguistic processing to take place in the brain. In addition to these broad theoretical issues in knowledge architecture and engineering, the lab will aim to make a concrete contribution to the analysis and visualization of knowledge production at DKU, Duke or other universities. These include:

  • tools to assess how universities’ research and teaching missions are aligned
  • methods to assess what universities are contributing to the development of human knowledge
  • applications for analyzing, classifying and visualizing knowledge production at universities
  • proposals for how knowledge can be related, synthesized, recombined, or repurposed across disciplines and fields

At the same time, as a vertically-integrated lab, students at various stages in their careers will work with faculty at various stages of their careers in order to share ideas, and build a research and training cluster that will support the mission of the whole university in terms of knowledge innovation and scientific discovery.

Reading Group

The lab will recruit students at an orientation session on February 24. Lab members will then meet weekly in session four in a reading group to deepen their interdisciplinary knowledge in areas related to lab’s mission. These could  include:

  • algorithms for natural language processing and semantic analysis in English and Chinese
  • taxonomy of knowledge as trees, hierarchies, networks or other structures
  • visualization of knowledge networks
  • network models
  • analysis of research paper metadata, citations etc
  • development of applications for academic institutional assessment and analysis
  • biosemantics and cognitive neuroscience
  • social / political implications of the above

This process of building up a cross-disciplinary body of research and training at DKU will enable to lab to support the development of signature work projects in Data Science, Computation and Design, Ethics and Leadership, and Behavioral Science. It will also support the work of faculty researchers whose work lies at the intersection of philosophy of mind, neuroscience, data science, ethics and society. Towards the end of the spring semester the lab members will work on the development of specific research projects and seek funding to carry them out beginning in the summer and fall.

Core Leaders

Charles Chang, Assistant Professor of Environment and Urban Studies

Prof. Chang’s research interest hinges on the intersections between computation and design. With the rise of smartphones and other internet-connected devices, design choices become increasingly data-driven and dependent on information’s credibility in the construction of the human habitat. Chang’s research focuses on human habitat design, environmental impact, and information credibility in the big-data age. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include computational social science, digital humanities, and urban informatics.

Wanying He, (student co-director), DKU’22

Wanying He is an undergraduate of the class of 2022 majoring in Data Science. Her research interests lie in knowledge architecture, natural language processing, semantic analysis and modeling, and the theory and practice of interdisciplinarity.

Sze Chai Kwok, Associate Professor of Cognitive Neuroscience

Prof. Kwok’s research lies at the intersection among neuroscience, behavior, and psychology. He is head of the Laboratory of Phylo-Cognition and his research team studies the neural bases of episodic memory, metacognition, and other related higher cognitive processes in the primate species. Elucidation of such intricate brain/mind/behavior relationships is attained by armamentaria of methods including multimodal neuroimaging, in vivo electrophysiology, neuromodulatory methods, state-of-the-art behavioral paradigms and computational techniques. His teaching interests at Duke Kunshan include topics within cognitive neuroscience, behavioral sciences, and psychology.

James Miller (faculty co-director), Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Strategy

James Miller is known worldwide as a scholar of Daoism and Ecology. He has published three monographs and four edited volumes, and his writing has been translated into Chinese, Korean, Italian, Portuguese and Farsi. He is Professor of Humanities, co-director of the Humanities Research Center, and Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Strategy at Duke Kunshan University.

Ivan Mura, Associate Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Ivan Mura has a computer science background and a passion for interdiscilinary applications of modeling. His research interests focus on techniques and applications of predictive and prescriptive data analytics to artificial and living systems, and the integration of measurement data into axiomatic modeling.

Daniel Weissglass, Assistant Professor of Philosophy

Daniel Weissglass has two major research programs: the fundamentals of cognition; and science, health, and technology policy. The fundamentals of cognition program explores intersections between philosophy and the cognitive sciences to improve our understanding of the mind and its operations. His science, health, and technology policy research explores ethical, epistemic, and political challenges arising from contemporary advances in technology and develops policy recommendations to address these challenges.


To register for. the information session please fill out the survey here or scan the QR code.