YINS Seminar Talk - Dr. Krishna Gummadi, Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS)
Title: Understanding Information Exchange in Social Media Systems
Abstract: The functioning of our modern knowledge-based societies depends crucially on how individuals, organizations, and governments exchange information. Today, much of this information exchange is happening over the Internet. Recently, social media systems like Twitter and Facebook have become tremendously popular, bringing with them profound changes in the way information is being exchanged online. In this talk, I will focus on understanding the processes by which social media users produce, disseminate, and consume information. Specifically, I will present findings from our recent research, where we analyzed information exchanged between several tens of millions of users in the Twitter social media system. Our analysis sheds light on (i) the trade-offs between relying on the information produced by (i.e., wisdom of) crowds versus experts, (ii) the effects of information overload on how users disseminate information virally (i.e., by word-of-mouth over social networks) and (iii) the composition (i.e., the topical and perspective diversity) of information diets being consumed by social media users. I will also highlight limitations of our current understanding and argue that an improved understanding of information exchange processes is the necessary first step towards designing more dependable social media systems in the future.
Bio: Krishna Gummadi is a tenured faculy member and head of the Networked Systems research group at the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems (MPI-SWS) in Germany. He received his Ph.D. (2005) and M.S. (2002) degrees in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Washington. He also holds a B.Tech (2000) degree in Computer Science and Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras. Krishna’s research interests are in the measurement, analysis, design, and evaluation of complex Internet-scale systems. His current projects focus on understanding and building social computing systems. Specifically, they tackle the challenges associated with protecting the privacy of users sharing personal data, understanding and leveraging word-of-mouth exchanges to spread information virally, and finding relevant and trustworthy sources of information in crowds. Krishna’s work on online social networks, Internet access networks, and peer-to-peer systems has led to a number of widely cited papers and award (best) papers at ACM/Usenix’s SOUPS, AAAI’s ICWSM, Usenix’s OSDI, ACM’s SIGCOMM IMW, and SPIE’s MMCN conferences.