Observatorio de I+D+i UPM

Memorias de investigación
Áreas de investigación
  • Física química y matemáticas
During daily routines, we are constantly interacting with electronic devices and telecommunication services. Unconsciously, we are massively leaving traces of our activity in the service providers? databases. These new data sources have the dimensions required to enable the observation of human behavioral patterns at large scales. As a result, there has been an unprecedented explosion of data-driven social research. In this thesis, we develop computational and mathematical methods to analyze social systems by means of the combined study of human activity data and the theory of complex networks. Our goal is to characterize and understand the emergent systems from human interactions on the new technological spaces, such as the online social network Twitter and mobile phones. We analyze systems by means of the construction of complex networks and temporal series, studying their structure, functioning and temporal evolution. We also investigate on the nature of the observed patterns, by means of the mechanisms that rule the interactions among individuals, as well as on the impact of critical events on the system?s behavior. For this purpose, we have proposed models that explain the global structures and the emergent dynamics of information flow in the system. In the studies of the online social network Twitter, we have based our analysis on specific conversations, such as political protests, important announcements and electoral processes. From the messages related to the conversations, we identify the participant users and build networks of interactions with them. We specifically build one network to represent whoreceives- whose-messages and another to represent who-propagates-whose-messages. In general, we have found that these structures have complex properties, such as explosive growth and scale-free degree distributions. Based on the topological properties of these networks, we have identified three types of user behavior that determine the information flow dynamics due to their influence. In order to measure the users? influence on the conversations, we have introduced a new measure called user efficiency. It is defined as the number of retransmissions obtained by message posted, and it measures the effects of the individual activity on the collective reacixtions. We have observed that the probability distribution of this property is ubiquitous across several Twitter conversation, regardlessly of their dimension or social context. Therefore, we suggest that there is a universal behavior in the relationship between individual efforts and collective reactions on Twitter. In order to explain the different factors that determine the user efficiency distribution, we have developed a computational model to simulate the diffusion of messages on Twitter, based on the mechanism of independent cascades. This model, allows us to measure the impact on the emergent efficiency distribution of the underlying network topology, as well as the way that users post messages. The results indicate that the emergence of an exclusive group of highly efficient users depends upon the heterogeneity of the underlying network instead of the individual behavior. Moreover, we have also developed techniques to infer the degree of polarization in social networks. We propose a methodology to estimate opinions in social networks and to measure the degree of polarization in the obtained opinions. We have designed a model to study the effects of the opinions of a small group of influential users, called elite, on the opinions of the majority of users. The model results in an opinions distribution to which we measure the degree of polarization. We apply our methodology to measure the polarization on graphs from the messages diffusion process, during a conversation on Twitter from a polarized society. The results are in very good agreement with offline and contextual data.
Tipo de Tesis
Sobresaliente cum laude
Esta actividad pertenece a memorias de investigación
  • Autor: Alfredo Morales Guzmán (UPM)
  • Director: Rosa Maria Benito Zafrilla (UPM)
Grupos de investigación, Departamentos, Centros e Institutos de I+D+i relacionados
  • Creador: Grupo de Investigación: Grupo de Sistemas Complejos
  • Departamento: Ingeniería Agroforestal
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Cofinanciación del MINECO en el marco del Programa INNCIDE 2011 (OTR-2011-0236)
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