CNetS grad honored with 2018 University Distinguished Ph.D. Dissertation Award

Onur VarolOnur Varol, a postdoctoral research associate at Northeastern University who earned his Ph.D. in Informatics from CNetS, has been honored with the University Distinguished Ph.D. Dissertation Award for 2018, which is the highest honor for research Indiana University bestows on its graduate students. “I am extremely happy to receive this award,” Varol said. “I would like to especially thank my advisor, Filippo Menczer, and the Informatics department for nominating me. I was lucky to be surrounded by the best advisors, collaborators, and research group I could imagine during my doctoral studies, and I am a proud IU alumni and a Hoosier.” Varol’s dissertation, “Analyzing Social Big Data to Study Online Discourse and Its Manipulation,” provided insights into analysis of online conversations and mechanisms used for their manipulation. Varol built machine learning frameworks like Botometer to detect social bots. More…

CNetS grad combats the spread of fake news with new mobile app

The spread of fake news is no game, but to recent CNetS graduate Mihai Avram, a game just might be the solution. As a graduate student in CNetS, Avram developed a mobile app called Fakey to help combat the spread of fake news on social media. It is available to download for both Android and iOS. The news literacy game places users in a simulated social media environment where they can share, “like” or fact-check articles. Users are given feedback for their actions and earn points if they share stories from legitimate news sources, or if they fact-check articles from low-credibility sources. More…

3 new tools to study and counter online disinformation

Researchers at CNetS, IUNI, and the Indiana University Observatory on Social Media have launched upgrades to two tools playing a major role in countering the spread of misinformation online: Hoaxy and Botometer.  A third tool Fakey — an educational game designed to make people smarter news consumers — also launches with the upgrades. Continue reading 3 new tools to study and counter online disinformation

The science of fake news

The indictment of 13 Russians in the operation of a “troll farm” that spread false information related to the 2016 U.S. presidential election has renewed the spotlight on the power of “fake news” to influence public opinion. Now, an Indiana University faculty member who studies the spread of misinformation online is joining prominent legal scholars, social scientists and researchers in a global “call to action” in the fight against it. Filippo Menczer, a professor in CNetS and the IU School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering, is a co-author of a paper published March 8 in the journal Science that calls for a coordinated investigation into the underlying social, psychological and technological forces behind fake news. This is necessary to counteract the phenomenon’s negative influence on society, the authors said. READ MORE

CNetS in Science

The manifesto of science of science has been published in Science magazine. This is a team effort involving 14 coauthors, three of whom are members of our center: Santo Fortunato (first and corresponding author), Staša Milojević and Filippo Radicchi. The team includes superstars in the field of complex systems like Albert-László Barabási, Dirk Helbing, Alessandro Vespignani, and Brian Uzzi. The paper is a review of the main research topics within science of science: knowledge networks, problem selection, novelty, career dynamics, team science and citation dynamics.

DARPA grant to study information spread

geo-homophilyFil Menczer, professor of computer science and informatics at the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering, is part of a group that has been awarded a $1.2 million grant from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to study how and at what rate information spreads in a global information environment. The project, COSINE: Cognitive Online Simulation of Information Network Environments, also involves Professor of Informatics Alessandro Flammini and Assistant Professor of Informatics and Computing YY Ahn. The project is in collaboration with colleagues at the USC Information Sciences Institute (ISI) and the University of Notre Dame. Read more…

CNETS professors create complex systems on the dance floor

E-Trash/Rocha and DJ Angst/Bollen performing at the Riot Bootique

“On the last Friday of each month, instead of heading home to their families after the weekly School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering faculty meeting, professors Luis Rocha and Johan Bollen head to the Root Cellar Lounge and become DJ E-Trash and DJ Angst. […] Both Bollen and Rocha are considered experts in the field of complex networks and systems, and they agree that when they DJ, they are part of just the kind of complex systems they study”. See full article at IU News.

CNETS PhD Program central in new $3 million NSF Training Grant

Luis RochaThe National Science Foundation has awarded nearly $3 million to train future research leaders in Complex Networks and Systems, via the PhD Program established by CNETS faculty. The highly selective grant from the NSF’s Research Traineeship Award will create a dual Ph.D. program at Indiana University to train graduate students to be proficient in both a specific discipline, such as psychology or political science, as well as network, complexity and data science. The new Ph.D. program will also leverage the strengths of the Indiana Network Science Institute, or IUNI, to involve students in interdisciplinary research.”The biggest challenges currently faced by society require large teams of people who are ‘fluent’ in more than one scientific discipline,” said Luis Rocha, CNETS professor in the IU School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering who will lead the new program. “But the current education model in academia is still largely focused on training researchers who know how to set up independent labs with agendas driven by a single person. If we want to take on the really big problems, we’ve got to create more scientists with deep expertise in multiple areas.” Full Press Release Available.