Web as a Laboratory for Studying Humanity

Prof. dr. Jure Leskovec

Assistant Professor, Computer Science Department, Stanford University

Abstract

With an increasing amount of social interaction taking place in on-line settings, we are accumulating massive amounts of data about phenomena that were once essentially invisible to us: the collective behavior and social interactions of hundreds of millions of people. Analyzing this massive data computationally offers enormous potential both to address long-standing scientific questions, and also to harness and inform the design of future social computing applications: What are emerging ideas and trends? How is information being created, how it flows and mutates as it is passed from a node to node like an epidemic? How will a community or a social network evolve in the future?

We discuss how computational perspective can be applied to questions involving structure of online networks and the dynamics of information flows through such networks, including analysis of massive data as well as mathematical models that seek to abstract some of the underlying phenomena.