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Talk by Ricardo Baeza-Yates: Data and Algorithmic Bias in the Web

Ricardo Baeza-YatesSpeaker: Ricardo Baeza-Yates, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain & Universidad de Chile
Title: Data and Algorithmic Bias in the Web
Date: 04/22/2016
Time: 9am
Room: Info East 122
Abstract: The Web is the largest public big data repository that humankind has created. In this overwhelming data ocean we need to be aware of the quality and in particular, of biases that exist in this data, such as redundancy, spam, etc. These biases affect the algorithms that we design to improve the user experience. This problem is further exacerbated by biases that are added by these algorithms, especially in the context of search and recommendation systems. They include ranking bias, presentation bias, position bias, etc. We give several examples and their relation to sparsity, novelty, and privacy, stressing the importance of the user context to avoid these biases.
Bio: Ricardo Baeza-Yates areas of expertise are information retrieval, web search and data mining, data science and algorithms. He was VP of Research at Yahoo Labs, based in Barcelona, Spain, and later in Sunnyvale, California, from January 2006 to February 2016. He is part time Professor at DTIC of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, Spain. Until 2004 he was Professor and founding director of the Center for Web Research at the Dept. of Computing Science of the University of Chile. He obtained a Ph.D. in CS from the University of Waterloo, Canada, in 1989. He is co-author of the best-seller Modern Information Retrieval textbook published by Addison-Wesley in 2011 (2nd ed), that won the ASIST 2012 Book of the Year award. From 2002 to 2004 he was elected to the board of governors of the IEEE Computer Society and in 2012 he was elected for the ACM Council. Since 2010 is a founding member of the Chilean Academy of Engineering. In 2009 he was named ACM Fellow and in 2011 IEEE Fellow, among other awards and distinctions.

Radicchi Earns NSF CAREER Award

Filippo Radicchi
Filippo Radicchi

Congratulations to Filippo Radicchi, who has been awarded a Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) grant from the National Science Foundation to establish a research and education program devoted to studying critical infrastructures from the perspective of network theory. The $500,000 grant will focus on how physical networks, such as transportation, water, food supply, communications, and power generation and transmission, interact to deliver their assets as efficiently as possible. Transactional and relational infrastructures, such as financial and trade networks, also enter into the equation to serve as the backbone for modern society. Read more…

Awards at CCS 2015

Optimized-IU_poster_5_botsThe CNetS poster “The Rise of Social Bots in Online Social Networks” by Emilio Ferrara, Onur Varol, Prashant Shiralkar, Clayton Davis, Filippo Menczer, and Alessandro Flammini won a Best Poster Award at CCS 2015. The poster was presented by Clayton Davis. The results will also appear in the paper “The Rise of Social Bots” to be published in Comm. ACM (in press, preprint).

The paper “Modularity and the Spread of Perturbations in Complex Dynamical Systems” by Artemy Kolchinsky, Alexander J. Gates and Luis M. Rocha, and the poster “Information Theoretic Structures of the French Revolution” by Alexander Barron, Simon DeDeo and Rebecca Spang won additional awards.

Finally, our former postdoctoral scientist Bruno Gonçalves (now tenured faculty member at Aix-Marseille Université) received a Junior Scientist Award from the Complex Systems Society for his contributions to the study of human social behavior from large-scale online attention and behavioral data. This is the second Junior Scientist Award for CNetS (the first was won by Filippo Radicchi).

Congratulations to the CNetS team!


On the cover of Neuron

Neuron coverWork by Olaf Sporns, YY Ahn, Alessandro Flammini and colleagues was featured on the cover of Neuron. In the paper Cooperative and Competitive Spreading Dynamics on the Human Connectome, the authors present a simulation model of spreading dynamics, previously applied in studies of social networks, that offers a new perspective on how the connectivity of the human brain constrains neural communication processes. Local perturbations in a social network can trigger global cascades (orange and turquoise epicenters in background image). In the case of the brain, the spreading of such cascades follows organized patterns that are shaped by anatomical connections revealing how interactions among functional brain networks may give rise to the integration of information.

CNetS researchers study sleeping beauties

476706_w296Why do some research papers remain dormant for years and then suddenly explode with great impact upon the scientific community? These “sleeping beauties” are the subject of a new study by CNetS researchers Qing KeEmilio FerraraFilippo Radicchi, and Alessandro Flammini published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study provides empirical evidence that a paper can truly be ahead of its time. A ‘premature’ topic may fail to attract attention even when it is introduced by authors who have already established a strong scientific reputation. The authors show that sleeping beauties can be dormant for many decades, and are more common than previously thought. The findings have been covered by media such as Nature and The New York Times. More…

CNetS team winner in LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge

The CNetS team
The CNetS team

LinkedIn announced that YY Ahn and his team of Ph.D. students from the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, including Yizhi Jing, Adazeh Nematzadeh, Jaehyuk Park, and Ian Wood, is one of the 11 winners of the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge.

Their project, “Forecasting large-scale industrial evolution,” aims to understand the macro-evolution of industries to track businesses and emerging skills. This data would be used to forecast economic trends and guide professionals toward promising career paths.

“This is a fascinating opportunity to study the network of industries and people with unprecedented details and size. All of us are very excited to collaborate with LinkedIn and our LinkedIn mentor, Mike Conover, who is a recent Informatics PhD alumnus, on this topic,” said Ahn. Read more…