Project Abstract

Online social networks (OSNs) such as Facebook and LinkedIn are valuable infrastructures for communication and interactions between a large volume of Internet users. For years, researchers have been trying to answer fundamental questions about the formation of these complex networks, their ongoing evolution, formation of internal structures, and change at different time scales. Since answering these questions requires real dynamics datasets at scale, most prior studies have been significantly constrained by a lack of data. The PIs have been granted access by an OSN provider to a uniquely detailed and complete trace of dynamics over 2+ years of a social network. Our goal is to mine and analyze our traces of network dynamics to validate existing models and guide new models for fine grain network dynamics. Objectives include analysis of the preferential attachment model at different stages of network growth, developing new models of network dynamics at fine granularity in both time and graph topology, and explorations of applications driven by novel metrics of graph dynamics.

Our work has the potential to dramatically change our understanding of dynamics in online social networks. By taking an empirical, data-driven approach to network modeling, we can shed light on how traditional models of network dynamics deviate from ground truth. In addition, we can develop empirical models that are more effective at accurately predicting network events at small scales. Both PIs Zhao and Zheng are heavily invested in educational and outreach programs for female and minority students: female students and postdocs often outnumber male counterparts in their lab. The PIs will disseminate their results to their collaborators at Renren and LinkedIn, and also share results with researchers at Twitter, Zynga, Facebook and Google through existing technical contacts and informal visits/talks.

This project is supported in part by NSF Proposal: IIS-1321083, titled "Analysis and Models of Social Network Structure, Growth and Dynamics."

  • People
  • Prof. Ben Y. Zhao, PI
  • Prof. Heather Zheng, Co-PI
  • Dr. Xiaohan Zhao, Research Scientist
  • Qingyun Liu, PhD student
  • Shiliang Tang, PhD student
  • Related Publications
  • Process-driven Analysis of Dynamics in Online Social Interactions
    Zhi Yang, Jilong Xue, Christo Wilson, Ben Y. Zhao and Yafei Dai.
    Proceedings of 3rd ACM Conference in Online Social Networks (COSN), Stanford, CA, November 2015.
    [Paper: PDF (835KB)]

  • Uncovering User Interaction Dynamics in Online Social Networks
    Zhi Yang, Jilong Xue, Christo Wilson, Ben Y. Zhao and Yafei Dai.
    Proceedings of International AAAI Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), Oxford, UK, May 2015.
    [Paper: PDF (2MB)]

  • Analyzing and Processing Big Real Graphs
    Xiaohan Zhao PhD Dissertation, UC Santa Barbara, December 2014
    PDF (4.5MB)

  • Link and Triadic Closure Delay: Temporal Metrics for Social Network Dynamics
    Matteo Zignani, Sabrina Gaito, Gian Paolo Rossi, Xiaohan Zhao, Haitao Zheng, Ben Y. Zhao
    Proceedings of 8th AAAI International Conference on Weblogs and Social Media (ICWSM), Ann Arbor, MI, June 2014.
    [Abstract, Paper: PDF (1.2MB)]

  • Wisdom in the Social Crowd: an Analysis of Quora
    Gang Wang, Konark Gill, Manish Mohanlal, Haitao Zheng and Ben Y. Zhao
    Proceedings of The 22nd International World Wide Web Conference (WWW), Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, May 2013.
    [Abstract, Paper: PDF (2.5MB)]

  • Multi-scale Dynamics in a Massive Online Social Network
    Xiaohan Zhao, Alessandra Sala, Christo Wilson, Xiao Wang, Sabrina Gaito, Haitao Zheng and Ben Y. Zhao
    Proceedings of The 12th ACM SIGCOMM Internet Measurement Conference (IMC), Boston, MA, November 2012.
    [Abstract, Paper: PDF (607 KB)]

  • Beyond Social Graphs: User Interactions in Online Social Networks and their Implications
    Christo Wilson, Alessandra Sala, Krishna P. N. Puttaswamy, and Ben Y. Zhao
    ACM Transactions on the Web, Vol. 6, No. 4, Article 17, November 2012
    [Abstract, Paper: PDF (2.3MB)]

  • On the Bursty Evolution of Online Social Networks
    Sabrina Gaito, Matteo Zignani, Gian Paolo Rossi, Alessandra Sala, Xiaohan Zhao, Haitao Zheng and Ben Y. Zhao
    Proceedings of ACM KDD HotSocial Workshop, Beijing, China, August 2012.
    [Abstract, Paper: PDF (400 KB)]

  • Shortest Paths in Less Than a Millisecond
    Rachit Agarwal, Matthew Caesar, P. Brighten Godfrey and Ben Y. Zhao
    Proceedings of SIGCOMM Workshop on Online Social Networks (WOSN), Helsinki, Finland, August 2012.
    [Abstract, Paper: PDF (332 KB)]