Tutorial - Politics, Petitions, and Propagation

Tuesday, February 28, 2012 - 9:00am - 10:00am
Keller 3-180
David Liben-Nowell (Carleton College)
Although the continuous circulation of information, news, jokes,
and opinions is ubiquitous in the worldwide social network, the
actual mechanics of how any single piece of information spreads
on a global scale have largely remained mysterious. A major
challenge lies in the difficulty of acquisition of large-scale
data recording the diffusion of any particular single piece of
information. This talk will focus on recent work tracing such
processes through online traces of information spreading. I will
survey a variety of computational (and not so computational)
efforts to trace diffusion through networks. I'll then focus
recent joint work with Jon Kleinberg and and Flavio Chierichetti
on the reconstruction of the propagation of massively circulated
Internet chain letters, like those opposing the start of the Iraq
war, Women Against Sarah Palin, protests of funding cuts for
NPR/PBS, among others. The propagation of these petitions does
not fan out rapidly in the style of a small-world epidemic, but
rather produces a narrow but very deep tree-like pattern. This
observation suggests a new and more complex picture for the
spread of information through a social network.

Joint work with Jon Kleinberg and and Flavio Chierichetti.
MSC Code: