Category Archives: NaN

NaN represented, recognized at SoIC Spring Research Symposium

On Tuesday, April 19, IU School of Informatics and Computing hosted its Spring Research Symposium, where NaN was represented by two undergraduate research projects mentored by PhD candidate Clayton A Davis. Keychul Chung received 2nd prize honors for his work on a browser-based tool to compare historical trends of Twitter hashtag use. Kibeom Alex Hong presented a web-based tool to visualize geospatial trends in Twitter hashtag distribution over time. Both projects will be available as part of the Social Media Observatory tools to be released in early May.

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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.

Hoaxy: A Platform for Tracking Online Misinformation

diffusion networks of hoaxes in Twitter
Misinformation (yellow/brown) spreads within the healthy (blue) Twittersphere network. Left: chemtrails conspiracies mix with conversations about the sky. Right: antivax campaigns penetrate discussions about the flu.

Approximately 65% of American adults access the news through social media. Through our shares and retweets, we participate in the propagation of the news that we find interesting and trustworthy. This has the implication that no individual authority can dictate what kind of information is distributed on the whole network. While such platforms have brought about a more egalitarian model of information access according to some, the lack of oversight from expert journalists makes social media vulnerable to the intentional or unintentional spread of misinformation. Do you believe what you read on social media?

Several characteristics of online social networks, such as homophily, polarized echo chambers, algorithmic ranking, and social bubbles, create considerable challenges for our capability to discriminate between facts and misinformation, and allocate our attention and energy accordingly. Furthermore, the harsh competition for our limited attention created by the fast news life cycle makes it inevitable that some news will go viral even if they carry false or unreliable information. Continue reading Hoaxy: A Platform for Tracking Online Misinformation

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!


CNetS researchers use Instagram to predict success of fashion models

Selection_879Predicting popularity and success in cultural markets is hard due to strong inequalities and inherent unpredictability. A good example comes from the world of fashion, where industry professionals face every season the difficult challenge of guessing who will be the next seasons’ top models. A recent study by CNetS graduate student Jaehyuk Park, research scientist Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia (also at the IU Network Science Institute), and research scientist Emilio Ferrara (now at the University of Southern California) is now showing that early success in modeling can be predicted from the digital traces left by the buzz on social media such as Instagram. The study has been accepted for presentation at the 19th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW’16). The work has been covered in the media by the MIT Technology Review, Die Welt, Fusion, and iTNews.