CAREER: Social dynamics of information in virtual spaces

With this National Science Foundation CAREER Award, Lada Adamic studied the effect of community structure on information diffusion through the analysis of online interactions.

Start date: 5/1/2008
End date: 4/30/2013

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The topic of information diffusion, having both theoretical and practical significance, has received attention across several scientific disciplines for some time. However, many empirical studies have lacked the size and accuracy needed to differentiate between theoretical models. This project addressed this problem by serving as a testbed for modeling the dynamics of information diffusion. Beyond testing existing models, this project incorporated network community boundaries and overlapped into descriptive and predictive models of information diffusion and opinion formation.

Online activities leave digital traces, ranging from citation patterns among millions of blogs to avatar interactions in online virtual worlds such as Second Life. This project assembled three very large-scale, high resolution network data sources: one encompassing the interactions of millions of users of the online virtual world Second Life, the second comprising millions of blogs, and the third mapping exact traces with a novel information and opinion sharing application.

These empirical studies of digital traces investigated the effect of social network structure and community boundaries on information diffusion and change. This project also addressed the dynamics of opinion formation in networks of overlapping communities. The research directly fed into network and data analysis courses taught by Professor Adamic as part of social computing and information retrieval specializations in SI. It also added to a collection of online data sets, analysis tools, and tutorials that Professor Adamic shared for educational and research purposes and used to help shape her following studies:

 

Grants

CAREER: Social Dynamics of Information in Virtual Spaces, National Science Foundation: $438,251

 

The National Science Foundation (NSF) is an independent federal agency created by Congress in 1950 "to promote the progress of science; to advance the national health, prosperity, and welfare; to secure the national defense…"

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