Cognition & ICT  (CI) Session 1

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Time and Date: 16:15 - 18:00 on 19th Sep 2016

Room: E - Mendes da Costa kamer

Chair: Andrea Nanetti

338 Mapping bilateral information interests using the activity of Wikipedia editors [abstract]
Abstract: We live in a global village where electronic communication has eliminated the geographical barriers of information exchange. The road is now open to worldwide convergence of information interests, shared values and understanding. Nevertheless, interests still vary between countries around the world. This raises important questions about what today’s world map of information interests actually looks like and what factors cause the barriers of information exchange between countries. To quantitatively construct a world map of information interests, we devise a scalable statistical model that identifies countries with similar information interests and measures the countries’ bilateral similarities. From the similarities we connect countries in a global network and find that countries can be mapped into 18 clusters with similar information interests. Through regression we find that language and religion best explain the strength of the bilateral ties and formation of clusters. Our findings provide a quantitative basis for further studies to better understand the complex interplay between shared interests and conflict on a global scale. The methodology can also be extended to track changes over time and capture important trends in global information exchange. References: - Karimi, Bohlin, Samoilenko, Rosvall and Lancichinetti. Mapping bilateral information interests using the activity of Wikipedia editors, Palgrave Communications 1 (2015) - Samoilenk, Karimi, Edler, Kunegis and Strohmaier. Linguistic neighbourhoods: explaining cultural borders on Wikipedia through multilingual co-editing activity, EPJ Data Science 5 (2016)
Fariba Karimi, Ludvig Bohlin, Anna Samoilenko, Martin Rosvall and Andrea Lancichinetti
107 Connecting tweeting behavior to voting activity in the European Parliament: A study of cohesion and coalitions. [abstract]
Abstract: Social media activities often reflect phenomena that naturally occur in other complex systems. By observing the networks and the content propagated through these networks, we can describe or even predict the processes that influence the observed social media activities. In this study, we explore the connection between the voting and retweeting (endorsing) behavior of the members of the 8th European Parliament (MEPs). Utilizing roll-call vote data between October 2014 and February 2016, we investigate the processes responsible for the formation of coalitions in the European Parliament (EP). We study the formation of coalitions at different levels of granularity. First, we focus on political groups in the EP and quantify the voting agreement between their members (cohesion) and explore the inter-group voting agreement employing a distance based method. Second, we investigate which role party affiliation, origin of MEPs as well as the topic of the ballot play for the covoting behavior in the European Parliament. Using Exponential Random Models in combination with a meta-analysis technique, we show that the cohesion of political groups and strength of alliances between these groups depend to a large extent on the topic of the ballot. We study the retweet network between the MEPs, as observed in the same time period. Again, we define the intra- and inter-group measures of cohesiveness, and investigate the retweeting behavior of MEPs across topics. We compare the results with the results based on the roll-call votes and show that retweeting behavior of MEPs across several topics exhibits explanatory power for the covoting behavior of MEPs. References: Cherepnalkoski, Mozetič. A Retweet Network Analysis of the European Parliament. In Proceedings of SITIS 2015. IEEE. p.350-357. Lubbers. Group composition and network structure in school classes: a multilevel application of the p model. Social Networks. 2003, 25(4):309-332
Darko Cherepnalkoski, Andreas Karpf, Igor Mozetič and Miha Grčar
370 Homophily and missing links in citation networks [abstract]
Abstract: Citation networks have been widely used to study the evolution of science through the lenses of the underlying patterns of knowledge flows among academic papers, authors, and research sub-fields. Here we focus on citation networks to cast light on the salience of homophily, namely the principle that similarity breeds connection, for knowledge transfer between papers. To this end, we assess the degree to which citations tend to occur between papers that are concerned with seemingly related topics or research problems. Drawing on a large data set of articles published in the journals of the American Physical Society, we propose a novel method for measuring the similarity between articles through the statistical validation of the overlap between their bibliographies. We define the probability P_{i\to j}(p*) that a citation between any two articles i and j whose similarity is validated at the threshold p* exists as the ratio between the number of pairs of articles validated at that threshold in the APS citation network and the number of existing citations between those validated pairs. Results suggest that the probability of a citation made by one article to another is an increasing function of the similarity between the two articles. Our study enables us to uncover missing citations between pairs of highly related articles, and may help identify barriers to effective knowledge flows. By quantifying the proportion of missing citations, we conduct a comparative assessment of distinct journals and research sub-fields in terms of their ability to facilitate or impede the dissemination of knowledge. Findings indicate that knowledge transfer is facilitated by journals of wide visibility, such as PRL, than by lower-impact ones. Our study has important implications for authors, editors and reviewers of scientific journals, as well as public preprint repositories, as it provides a procedure for recommending relevant yet missing references.
Valerio Ciotti, Moreno Bonaventura, Vincenzo Nicosia, Pietro Panzarasa and Vito Latora
28 Functional Constructions in Language Networks [abstract]
Abstract: The emergence of the human language is perhaps the most significant event in the course of our evolution. Unlike primitive forms of animal communication, the vastness of our lexicon and the recursive application of structural rules allows human language almost infinite creative potential in producing meaningful utterances. Despite the complexity and variety of language, the processes of generating and deciphering meaningful utterances are accomplished remarkably rapidly. This paper demonstrates that these efficiencies are not accidental – lexicon and syntax in human language are organized purposefully in networks with maximized navigational performance. Starting from a word-to-word co-occurrence network of a corpus, we adopt an unsupervised learning algorithm to identify coherent sub-sequences (motifs) of nodes (words) shared by many paths (sentences). We believe that instead of navigating the language network word by word when one generates a sentence, motifs are employed as functional shortcuts to accelerate the process i.e. from the network perspective, motifs connect words that were previously far apart. We show that these functional motifs reduce the effective path lengths between words much more efficiently than motifs created from a null model. We also establish the importance of stop words (highly frequent words with low semantic value) in motifs. A large proportion of motifs can be characterized by a relatively small set of stop word templates. Moreover, these same templates are reused recursively to embed the language network to higher levels of abstraction. Our findings are surprisingly consistent with the theory of Construction Grammar (CxG). CxG purports that constructions are irreducible components of language carrying both form and meaning within. Words, sequences of words, and even templates of phrase formation are all treated equally as constructions in this paradigm. Similarly, in our language network, we allow words, phrases, and generalizable templates to coexist and interact.
Woon Peng Goh and Siew Ann Cheong
440 Percolation in homophilious social networks [abstract]
Abstract: In network theory, homophily is a tendency to connections between nodes of similar characteristics. Social networks, such as friendship networks, tend to be homophilious, since they connect individuals of similar tastes or opinions. The effect of homophily and information diffusion in social networks are difficult to distinguish in empirical studies: an homophilious network might display a behavior similar to diffusion through word-of-mouth just because agents with similar characteristics are likely to both adopt similar things and be connected to each other. The objective of this study is to analyze the effect of homophily in diffusion by word-of-mouth and to compare it with a non-homophilious benchmark. We introduce homophily in a percolation model of word-of-mouth diffusion as a modification of the small world algorithm. This novel algorithm reorganizes the nodes according to their individual characteristics, so the resulting network is highly homophilious. A comparison between diffusion in the modified network and in the benchmark scenario allows to isolate the effect of homophily in adoption. The main result is that homophily reduces the effect of the network structure: homophilious networks with different link structures present almost identical adoption sizes. In other words, the diffusion size does not differ substantially for different values of the rewiring probability. This is equivalent to saying that the network structure of a population does not play much of a role in this context. This effect results from the extreme case of homophily considered. Nonetheless, this novel approach to introduce homophily in a social network allows for an intuitive development of the word-of-mouth diffusion process in homophilious networks. The prevalence of homophily in social networks calls for studies that introduce homophily in simulation models of diffusion such as this.
Elena M. Tur, Paolo Zeppini and Koen Frenken
39 Assessing ICT Risk through a Monte Carlo Ecology [abstract]
Abstract: Risk assessment and management of an ICT infrastructure requires a large amount of data on the joint behavior of the system and its users. Usually, data is collected over time by observing such a joint behavior after the deployment. This implies that the design step cannot assess and manage because of lack of data. As a consequence, risk can be assessed after the deployment only. Monte Carlo Ecology is a methodology to predict the behavior of a system under attacks at any step of its life. The methodology introduces an ecosystem that includes an environment that models the target system and some organisms that models the various agents that interact among themselves and with the system. Some organisms attack the environment and other ones update it to improve its resiliency. The interactions in the ecosystem determine its evolution and events of interest such as an agent that reach one of its predefined goals. An evolution is stochastic because several events of interest, such as the success of an attacks, are ruled by probability distributions. For this reason, Monte Carlo Ecology applies a Monte Carlo method that runs multiple, independent evolutions to build a statistical sample to assess the system resiliency in an ecosystem. Each evolution generates some data to assess a system. We have developed the Haruspex suite to support Monte Carlo Ecology. Some of the suite tools build the models of the target system and of the agents in an ecosystem. Other tools implement the Monte Carlo approach and return the sample to assess the system. To fully exploit this sample, we have defined the security stress, a synthetic measure of resiliency in an environment. After describing the models of the system and of the agents, the full paper will detail the proposed methodology and present a case study.
Fabrizio Baiardi and Federico Tonelli

Cognition & ICT  (CI) Session 2

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Time and Date: 16:00 - 17:20 on 22nd Sep 2016

Room: F - Rode kamer

Chair: Peter Emde Boas

542 System thinking and complexity in fighting organised crime [abstract]
Abstract: Policing interfaces with a variety of multilevel complex systems including: heterogeneous local, national and international criminality; local and national government policy on crime; budgets and targets for crime containment; and public perceptions of crime and social safety. When a UK police force identifies a group of individuals suspected of involvement in organised crime, it undertakes a nationally standardised ‘mapping’ procedure. This involves entering details of the group members' known and suspected activity, associates and capability into a spreadsheet. A numerical score is then calculated so that each organised crime group (OCG) can be placed into one of several ‘bands’ which reflect the range and severity of crime in which the group is involved as well as its level of capability and sophistication. This paper is based on an academic-police research collaboration that is investigating the ‘Organised Crime Group Mapping’ (OCGM) data for one of the UK’s largest police forces. The existing data analysis procedures are being evaluated using a novel combination of systems thinking and complexity methods. These methods include the problem-oriented perspective of applied systems theory that sets system boundaries in the context of policy problems, combined with the perspective of multilevel multidimensional dynamics of network and hypernetwork theory. The research therefore sits firmly in the context of policy, data analysis and practical policing. This presentation will sketch the many subsystems involved in the UK's Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and give overview of the analytic approach. The focus will be on new results being obtained from the OCGM data, how the systems-complexity methods can be extended and used within practical policing, and the implications for policy.
Jeffrey Johnson, Fortune Joyce and Bromley Jane
134 Social dynamics of online debates on unverified news [abstract]
Abstract: Massive digital misinformation is one of the main threats to our society, according to the World Economic Forum. Our recent studies [1-2] show that users online tend to select information by confirmation bias and to join virtual echo chambers where they reinforce and polarize their beliefs. On one hand, social media have the power to inform, engage or mobilize, but on the other hand also to misinform, manipulate or control. In such media without mediation, the public has to deal with a large amount of misleading information generated by nationalists, populists and conspirators, that is corrupting reliable sources. Last but not least, discussions between like-minded people only reinforce their positions, thus bursting polarization. Indeed, our recent work [3] shows that a negative emotional pattern is generally observed when polarized communities interact on the Italian Facebook. In this work we present our most recent advancements about the quantitative understanding of collective framing online by addressing the emotional dynamics of 54 Million users around two distinct kinds of narratives — scientific and conspiracy news — on US Facebook. We introduce a new metric to analyze the emotional polarization of both users and posts, which successfully reveals heavily opinionated users and posts on controversial topics. Furthermore, we measure the emotional impact of information in contrast with one’s beliefs, showing that users tend to react negatively to the correction attempts. Although online discussions are open to anyone, users only rarely discuss their opinions outside their echo chambers. [1] Bessi et al. "Science vs conspiracy: Collective narratives in the age of misinformation." PLoS ONE 10.2 (2015):e0118093. [2] Del Vicario et al. "The spreading of misinformation online." PNAS 113.3 (2016):554-559. [3] Zollo et al. (2015) Emotional Dynamics in the Age of Misinformation. PLoS ONE 10(9):e0138740.
Borut Sluban, Fabiana Zollo, Guido Caldarelli, Igor Mozetič and Walter Quattrociocchi
340 Bias, Belief and Consensus: Collective opinion formation on fluctuating networks [abstract]
Abstract: With the advent of online networks, societies are substantially more connected with individual members able to easily modify and maintain their own social links. Here, we show that active network maintenance exposes agents to confirmation bias, the tendency to confirm one’s beliefs, and we explore how this affects collective opinion formation. We introduce a model of binary opinion dynamics on a complex network with fast, stochastic rewiring and show that confirmation bias induces a segregation of individuals with different opinions. We use the dynamics of global opinion to generally categorize opinion update rules and find that confirmation bias always stabilizes the consensus state. Finally, we show that the time to reach consensus has a non-monotonic dependence on the magnitude of the bias, suggesting a novel avenue for large-scale opinion engineering.
Greg Stephens and Vudtiwat Ngampruetikorn
406 The Public Goods Game as Heuristic for Solving Optimization Tasks [abstract]
Abstract: Nowadays, Evolutionary Game Theory (EGT) represents a field of growing interest in different scientific communities, as biology and social science. On the other hand, the Darwinian concept of evolution, underlying the dynamics of evolutionary games, represents a powerful inspiring source also in the field of natural computing (e.g. genetic algorithms, swarm logic and ant colonies) for solving optimization problems. The latter have been widely investigated also within the realm of statistical physics, where theoretical physics and information theory meet forming a powerful framework for studying complex systems. In this work ([1]), we present a new heuristic based on the Public Goods Game (PGG) for solving problems as the Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP). In particular, the order-disorder phase transition occurring in population interacting by the classical PGG can be adopted for letting the population to converge towards a common solution of a given TSP. Notably, the solution plays the same role of the strategy in the PGG, and the order is reached by implementing a mechanism of partial imitation (i.e. agents imitate richer agents). Remarkably, results of numerical simulations show that it is possible to compute both optimal and sub-optimal solutions, on varying the number of cities in the TSP and the amount of agents in the population. Therefore, in the light of the achieved outcomes, we deem relevant to further investigate the potential of evolutionary games in optimization problems, enlarging the domain of application of EGT. To conclude, beyond to present our results, we aim to show basic principles of EGT and their potential applications in other fields, so that the presentation be of interest for scientists coming from different communities. [1] Javarone MA: Solving Optimization Problems by the Spatial Public Goods Game. arxiv:1604.02929 (2016)
Marco Alberto Javarone