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Analysis team drills down on social networks

Posted August 4, 2014
Analysis team drills down on social networks
Example of construction of the Conversation Graph from conversation data. Credit: arXiv:1407.5547 [cs.CY]

Whether a teacher is posting a link for a colleague or a pet owner is sending her sister a photo of her sleeping dog, everything is of consequence for a newer breed of social network analysts who are trying to use their computers to map out social behavior and understand social structures. Researchers are eyeballing messages online, from informational, to chatty, to networking attempts—who likes who and who is following who. MIT Technology Review now reports on a recent effort to peer even further into social structures. In a paper recently submitted to the arXiv server, a team takes a still more nuanced analysis of online social data.

“Reading the Source Code of Social Ties” is by Luca Maria Aiello, research scientist at Yahoo Labs Barcelona, Rossano Schifanella, University of Torino, and Bogdan State, Stanford. The work was done when Schifanella and State were visiting Yahoo Labs Barcelona. In their paper, they discussed three different categories. Describing their work, MIT Technology Review said, “They tease apart the nature of the links that form on social networks and say these atoms fall into three different categories. They also show how to extract this information automatically and then characterize the relationships according to the combination of atoms that exist between individuals. Their ultimate goal: to turn anthropology into a full-blooded subdiscipline of computer science.”

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