Basser Seminar Series

Information Diffusion in Online Social Networks: From Analyzing Trends to Stopping Misinformation

Speaker: Professor Amr El Abbadi
Dept of Computer Science, University of California, Santa Barbara

Time: Friday 9 March 2012, 4:00-5:00pm
Location: The University of Sydney, School of IT Building, Lecture Theatre (Room 123), Level 1
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Social networks provide great opportunities for social connection, learning, political and social change, as well as individual entertainment and enhancement in a wide variety of forms. Online social networks also provide unprecedented amounts of information about social interaction and provide an opportunity to study social interactions on a scale and at a level of detail that has never been possible before. In this talk, we will consider ways of systematically exploring the vast space of on-line social network problems. Namely, we will consider three dimensions; understanding, managing and reporting on social networks and focus on example studies relating to these dimensions.

We will focus on two applications: limiting the spread of misinformation in social networks and trend analysis. In the former problem, we study the notion of competing campaigns in a social network, and explore the spread of influence in the presence of such competing campaigns. In particular, we develop protocols whose goal is to limit the spread of misinformation by identifying a subset of individuals that need to be convinced to adopt the competing (or "good") campaign so as to minimize the number of people that adopt the "bad" campaign . The second problem is motivated by the critical role the identification of popular and important topics plays in better understanding societal concerns. We propose two novel structural trend definitions referred to as "coordinated" and "uncoordinated" trends that use friendship information to identify topics that are discussed among clustered and unconnected users respectively. Our analyses and experiments show that structural trends are significantly different from traditional trends and provide new insights into the way people share information online.

This work was done jointly with Divyakant Agrawal and Ceren Budak.

Speaker's biography

Amr El Abbadi is a Professor in the Computer Science Department at the University of California, Santa Barbara where he also served as Department Chair from 2007 to 2011. He has been Program Chair for multiple database and distributed systems conferences, most recently SIGSPATIAL GIS 2010 and ACM Symposium on Cloud Computing (SoCC) 2011, and is also currently a journal editor for The VLDB Journal. He has also served as a board member of the VLDB Endowment from 2002-2008. In 2007,
Prof. El Abbadi received the UCSB Senate Outstanding Mentorship Award for his excellence in mentoring graduate students.
Prof. El Abbadi is an ACM Fellow.