The Spread of Influence in Temporal Social Networks
Speaker: Radosław Michalski
Wrocław University of Technology
December 9, 2014 - 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Location: CII (Low) 3051
Hosted By: Dr. Boleslaw Syzmanski (x6838)
People do not live in isolation. They are constantly exchanging information, they form groups,
establish families. Nowadays they are also overwhelmed by the constant media stream. All of the
above influence ones opinions, visions and attitudes. By looking at human relationships from a social
network perspective, these opinions spread through the network convincing some people to share
them and pass to their neighbours, and others to discard or disagree with them. This process, named
"the spread of influence", is happening all the time and following it is one of the challenges. In
contrast to the state-of-the-art in this area, this talk concerns a problem of the dynamics in social
networks – how it affects the problem of maximizing the spread of influence.
As we amplify or reduce the intensity of contacts with others over time or sometimes even
completely change our environment, the assumption that the social network mapping these
relationships is static is too strong simplification of reality. That is why the temporal aspects of
networks are influencing the whole process strongly and discarding that information may lead to
wrong conclusions about whom to influence in the beginning. Moreover, as contacts between people
are ordered in time, it is impossible to look at this process as at a reversible one - information cannot
travel against time. The static approach assumes this as well by saying that relationships established
some time ago, which ceased over time, may be used for passing information to others. This
assumption is simply wrong. In this talk it will be presented how the spread of influence behaves in
temporal social networks and whether it is possible to introduce a new approach outperforming
typical strategies for maximizing the spread of influence by making use of the temporal nature of
The model of social influence studied in this talk is Linear Threshold, one of two most commonly used
in the research on social influence. In order to face common problems in the area, a new method
providing better results for the spread of influence is proposed and evaluated - the tInf method. It
proves that instead of simplifying the reality it is better to make use of it in order to achieve more
Moreover, some more challenges that are related to the spread of influence in temporal social
networks will be presented and shortly discussed.
Radosław (Radek) Michalski is a researcher in computer science at Department of Computational Intelligence of Wrocław University of Technology, Poland. He is involved in studying processes of information diffusion in social networks, with special devotion to the analysis of spread of influence in temporal social networks. He studies these processes at different levels, micro and macro, trying to find out what are the most influential factors allowing to control the spread of influence in social networks that have a temporal nature. Recently, he has been the originator and main organizer of the Workshop on Social Influence (SI 2014, www.wosinf.org).
Last updated: November 20, 2014