Advanced Networks Colloquium: Massimo Franceschetti, "Social dynamics over networks"

Friday, February 26, 2016
11:00 a.m.
1146 AV Williams Building
Kimberly Edwards

The Advanced Networks Colloquium
Towards a theory of social dynamics over networks

Massimo Franceschetti
Electrical and Computer Engineering
University of California, San Diego


We present a long-term vision of developing a theory of networks for large populations of interconnected individuals, with applications to political, market, and social sciences. We argue that this theory should be developed in an engineering context, being data-driven, founded on solid mathematical grounds, and aware of ethical concerns.

Inspired by this goal, we study the networked behavior of individuals, modeling them as a synthetic population of homogeneous agents who make decisions or manifest behaviors according to simple rules of local interaction. We show that the resulting population can be a descriptive model of the original one, and can be analyzed with the tools of algorithmic complexity and statistics.

We consider a first scenario in which a group of interconnected agents seeks the solution to a computational task in a distributed fashion, through local interaction and information exchange. Driven by controlled laboratory experiments on human networks, we propose algorithmic models for individual behavior that are prone to mathematical analysis, match the empirical data, and can make predictions on larger population scales.

In a second scenario, we test some hypotheses of  emotional interaction with data from the Facebook network of millions of users and study the information and influence spreading over the network. In this case, we pair rigorous mathematical modeling and statistical analysis to show the existence of certain global social dynamics using inference on real data in a non-experimental way.


Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at University of California at San Diego. Received the Laurea degree, magna cum laude, in Computer Engineering from the University of Naples in 1997, M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Electrical Engineering from the California Institute of Technology in 1999, and 2003. Before joining UCSD, he was a post-doctoral scholar at University of California at Berkeley for two years.

He was awarded: the C. H. Wilts Prize in 2003 for best doctoral thesis in Electrical Engineering at Caltech, the IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagation society S. A. Schelkunoff best paper award in 2005, the IEEE Communications Society best tutorial paper award in 2010 the IEEE Control theory society Ruberti young researcher award in 2012, an NSF CAREER award in 2006, and an ONR Young Investigator award in 2007.

His research interests are in physical and information-based foundations of communication and control systems.

Audience: Graduate  Undergraduate  Faculty  Post-Docs  Alumni 

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