From coincidence to purposeful flow? Properties of transcendental information cascades.

Markus Luczak-Rösch
Web and Internet Science Research Group (WAIS) Electronics & Computer Science (ECS) University of Southampton
June 12, 2015 - 14:00 to 15:00
Access Grid Room

Oxford e-Research Centre, 7 Keble Road, Oxford

  • Seminar
  • No booking required
  • Open to all
  • Coffee and cakes

Abstract: We can see an increasing number of examples where humans contribute to large-scale collective action by sharing information online. This can be in case of a disastrous event (e.g. the Haiti earthquake) or political crisis (e.g. the Kenyan election) but also less critical situations deserving the spread of information of public interest (e.g. an actual traffic jam or cancelled train). These examples have in common that even though there is some common topic or goal hovering above the information sharing activities of the individuals (e.g. coordinating help in disaster response or optimizing travel routes of people being affected by traffic disruptions) people are not necessarily talking with each other. They are just talking out loudly about the same thing (especially in critical situations when time to make decisions is rare). This suggests that there exists unintended collective action that is the substrate of the accumulated information sharing behavior of individuals. A method to capture this is the focus of this talk. I will introduce an approach that is an attempt to formalize coincidence of information sharing rather than socially-determined conditional cascading. Through the investigation of microscopic events we seek to derive insight into the macroscopic state of the World Wide Web.

Bio: Markus Luczak-Roesch is a senior research fellow at the Web and Internet Science Group (WAIS) at the University of Southampton, Electronics and Computer Science (ECS), currently working on the prestigious EPSRC-funded project SOCIAM – The Theory and Practice of Social Machines (http://sociam.org). SOCIAM researches into pioneering methods of supporting purposeful human interaction on the World Wide Web, of the kind exemplified by phenomena such as Wikipedia and Galaxy Zoo. These collaborations are empowering, as communities identify and solve their own problems, harnessing their commitment, local knowledge and embedded skills, without having to rely on remote experts or governments. In this context Markus is working on the analysis of citizen science platforms as well as on information-centric theories of Social Machines. His research is generally focused on macro- and micro-scale information architectures. This encompasses information systems, their users, and the data, which is either managed for any particular application purpose or results from various forms of interactions. At the core of this work stands the investigation of the natural flow of information in Web-based information systems that results from coincidental information sharing activities of individuals. Markus Luczak-Roesch obtained a doctoral degree at Freie Universität Berlin for work on usage mining and Linked Data lifecycle management. He also held a lecturer position at Freie Universität Berlin from 2010 to 2013.