My name is Ke Nie [IPA: kʰɤ njɛ], and I am a Ph.D. candidate in sociology at the University of California, San Diego, with a Specialization in Computational Social Science. I am an organizational and economic sociologist who uses computational methods, among others, to study culture, creativity, and categories.

My research focuses on the social and organizational foundation of creativity and innovation. Using the creative industries as my empirical focus, I show how political and economic institutions influence creative production strategy, shape creative outputs, spawn or hinder product innovation, and reform producer identities or redefine market categories. For example, my award-winning article published in Poetics uses Music Information Retrieval (MIR), neural networks, and topic modeling algorithms to study how censorship reshaped music genres in China. In a similar vein, another article of mine, published in Chinese Sociological Review, reveals how artistic innovation is curbed by monetization programs. I am also a keen advocate of bringing insights from sociological and organizational studies into the development of technical tools: in a recent paper accepted into the International Society for Music Information Retrieval Conference Proceedings, I address the importance of deeming music genres as mutable social constructs in training machine-learning driven genre classifiers.

Building upon these works, my dissertation project examines how creativity is organized, regulated, and practiced in the Chinese popular music industry in the wake of its extensive digitization. The project is funded by American Sociological Association Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant (ASA DDRIG) and Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation, among others, and it was awarded the Honorable Mention for the Geoffrey Tootell Mathematical Sociology Outstanding Dissertation-in-Progress Award at the American Sociological Association.

In summer 2022, I started my internship at Tencent America as a Data Scientist, primarily researching and applying network experimentation methods in support of Tencent Games. Before joining the doctoral program at UCSD, I worked as a news correspondent and later a freelance author in China, writing for Xinhua, Caixin Weekly, The Paper, The Initium, CNPolitics, and many other renowned media platforms. In my spare time, I also write and produce music for music videos, commercials, and for fun.

Feel free to reach out to me at knie[at]

2023 (exp.), Ph.D. in Sociology, University of California, San Diego
2021, M.A. in Sociology, University of California, San Diego
2014, M.A. in Journalism, Peking University
2012, B.A. in German Language and Literature, Peking University
2012, B.A. in Economics, Peking University
Research Interests
Economic Sociology, Political Sociology, Culture and Creativity, Organizational Identity & Market Categories, Computational Social Science