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Monthly Archives: May 2015

Sensing, Understanding, and Shaping Social Behavior

The ability to understand social systems through the aid of computational tools is central to the emerging field of computational social systems. Such understanding can answer epistemological questions on human behavior in a data-driven manner, and provide prescriptive guidelines for persuading humans to undertake certain actions in real-world social scenarios. The growing number of works in this subfield has the potential to impact multiple walks of human life including health, wellness, productivity, mobility, transportation, education, shopping, and sustenance. The contribution of this paper is twofold. First, we provide a functional survey of recent advances in sensing, understanding, and shaping human behavior, focusing on real-world behavior of users as measured using passive sensors. Second, we present a case study on how trust, which is an important building block of computational social systems, can be quantified, sensed, and applied to shape human behavior.

Modeling Temporal Activity Patterns in Dynamic Social Networks

The focus of this work is on developing probabilistic models for temporal activity of users in social networks (e.g., posting and tweeting) by incorporating the social network influence as perceived by the user. Although prior work in this area has developed sophisticated models for user activity, these models either ignore social network influence completely or incorporate it in an implicit manner.

Online Reputation and Polling Systems: Data Incest, Social Learning, and Revealed Preferences

This paper considers online reputation and polling systems where individuals make recommendations based on their private observations and recommendations of friends. Such interaction of individuals and their social influence is modeled as social learning on a directed acyclic graph. Data incest (misinformation propagation) occurs due to unintentional reuse of identical actions in the formation of public belief in social learning; the information gathered by each agent is mistakenly considered to be independent. This results in overconfidence and bias in estimates of the state. Necessary and sufficient conditions are given on the structure of information exchange graph to mitigate data incest. Incest removal algorithms are presented. Experimental results on human subjects are presented to illustrate the effect of social influence and data incest on decision-making. These experimental results indicate that social learning protocols require careful design to handle and mitigate data incest. The incest removal algorithms are illustrated in an expectation polling system where participants in a poll respond with a summary of their friends’ beliefs. Finally, the principle of revealed preferences arising in microeconomics theory is used to parse Twitter datasets to determine if social sensors are utility maximizers and then determine their utility functions.

International Workshop on Social Networks and Social Computing’15

International Workshop on Social Networks and Social Computing’15 takes place in Manama starting on Oct 6, 2015. Papers must be registered by Jul 1, 2015 12:00 AM. The conference home page is at