Using university syllabi to map the connections between every scholarly and scientific discipline

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I got to play around with this a couple days ago, and had a few thoughts:

  1. My field looks about the way I would have guessed

  2. The distant desert-island outliers are interesting

  3. Their total responses are heavily tilted toward computer science, info science, and machine-human interaction syllabi…but for these researchers that’s probably only natural.


Theology floating off by itself down there in the corner. Who would have thought.


Using university syllabi to map the connections between every scholarly and scientific discipline

Hmmm where does “Internet Smart Ass” and “Trivia Pursuitist” fall?


If you zoom in, there are quite a few isolates:

dentistry, optometry, nutrition.

Perhaps we see what we want to see, and I like the idea that the hard sciences-- physics biology, chemistry exist in a sort of community,


It’s a 2-dimensional projection of a 50-dimensional data-set, so it is definitely not unique.


I’d love to see a dynamic version of this dataset (envisioning something like …)

as more connections are made and a full 3d representation can be generated is it gonna look like a brain?

asking for a friend

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a full 3d dataset?

it looks easy enough

We then used node2vec to produce a 128-dimension embedding for each text. Finally, we PCA these embeddings down to 50 dimensions (which, heuristically, seems to produce more structured field clusters), and then use UMAP to project down to 2 dimensions."


but I don’t want to tie up my machine, so I haven’t tested it.

At least for dentistry & nutrition, their being isolates may be an artifact of how this connection map was made. Certainly dentists & nutritionists have to take biology and chemistry classes, and this is only going to increase as we realize the importance of both the oral and gut microbiome.

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What about Astrology? Phrenology? Aura Reading? At least there are some hits for “Intelligent Design”…

… Oh no, “Richard Dawkins” has more entries and is read much more often. Bummer…

Bah… if this algorithm were any good, the map would have a giant golden 23-pointed 7-dimensional glowing star in the middle labelled “mathematics” with individual mathematical sub-fields as inset jewels and all other fields as distant amusements floating off on tendrils of confusion. :thinking::crazy_face:

… maybe “physics” gets a prominent spot …

Any other result is merely a reflection of the need to drive university revenue streams. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:


Also reminds me of this:

Why in the hell are medicine/sports on the one hand and biology/chemistry on the other so far apart and seemingly unconnected in that graph? No es bueno.

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I also noticed a good amount of subjects that I thought should be closer, but then realized that shared texts vastly different than the fields actually be related.

The huge separation of human medicine from veterinary medicine and general biology is sad but not unexpected. People doctors tend to forget that other species exist and that the fields have a lot of overlap. Animal people read a lot of human based material though. But then there are a lot more of them.

I also saw this and commented before reading the thread. To be fair though, medicine blends in with sociology, phychology etc in a way that pure biology and animal/vet science usually doesn’t.

That’s not fair at all. Especially to all the medicine out there.

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