Doctoral student Zachary Stine’s article “Characterizing the Language‑Production Dynamics of Social Media Users” was accepted for publication by Springer’s Social Network Analysis and Mining (SNAM) on September 28, 2019. The article, co-authored by Dr. Nitin Agarwal, was published online on October 3. Abstract:  In this paper, we propose a characterization of social media users based on language usage over time in order to make more rigorous the notions of organic and inorganic online behavior. This characterization describes the extent to which a user’s word usage within a particular time period subverts expectations based on preceding time periods. To do this, we adapt the use ofRead More →

On Friday, September 27th, doctoral candidate Adewale Obadimu successfully defended his PhD proposal, “Assessing the Role of Social Media Platforms in the Propagation of Toxicity.”  Obadimu defined toxicity as any “rude, disrespectful, or unreasonable comment that is likely to make people leave a discussion.” He argued that users who exhibit this toxic behavior will become worse over time, and that anyone could potentially display this type of behavior online.  His research aims to answer specific questions: Are toxic users clustered/segregated in an online discussion? Is toxicity contagious? Can we leverage toxic signals for predictions? To begin his research, Obadimu focused on a sample of userRead More →

On Friday, September 20th, doctoral candidate Kiran Kumar Bandeli presented his ongoing research on computational narrative analysis on blogs and social media at the EIT Colloquium.  “Blogs in particular act as virtual spaces where narratives are framed. It is therefore important to study and understand the way information is said by the actors on social media platforms,” Bandeli explained. Narratives are organized, long-lasting themes and ideas that persist in discourses. It is challenging to extract narratives from social media, and even more so to interpret them. However, developing a more effective way to study these narratives carries great implications, paving the way for strategic communicationRead More →

On Monday, September 23, participants of the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program made a stop at UA Little Rock. Individuals from seven different countries spent the morning speaking with members of the COSMOS team to learn about the broad range of research taking place, particularly regarding social cyber security and misinformation on social media. The countries represented include Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Montenegro, Romania, and Tajikistan. Delegates learned about tools COSMOS Cosmographers have developed in order to study disinformation on social media platforms. Blogtrackers is a tool designed by Dr. Nitin Agarwal in 2009 to to track and analyze blogs and gainRead More →

Ph.D. student Kiran Kumar Bandeli has been invited to speak about “Computational Narrative Analysis on Blogs/Social Media.” The colloquium will be held in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) Building, Room 217 at 3:00pm CST. You can attend in person or utilize the link below to view the presentation from any device with online access: https://us.bbcollab.com/guest/72ac95525d524120812cd25254122fbb Abstract of Talk: Social media is widely used to express views and share opinions with others. With the availability of inexpensive and ubiquitous mass communication tools like social media, creating narratives, false information and propaganda is both convenient and effective. Social media users leverage this platformRead More →

On Friday, August 30th, doctoral student Zachary Stine presented research from an ongoing comparative study regarding online religious communities.  Stine and fellow researchers Dr. Nitin Agarwal and Dr. James Deitrick, used Reddit to try to understand the differences and similarities between the religious cultures Buddhism and Christianity by analyzing their discussion text for specific lexicons on a more structural level.   Stine described using topic modeling  in order to look at how both communities discuss certain topics. Buddhist and Christian communities were chosen simply because they had the largest amount of discussion text available. The researchers anticipated possible problems with this study, particularly the issue ofRead More →

As a graduate researcher, there is no shortage of unexpected experiences. Shishila Awung Shimray, Anol Kanti Roy, Abdullah Al Faysal and Richard Young along with the help of other Cosmographers recently had the opportunity to participate in this year’s EIT High School Summer Research Program. As the name suggests, this program is targeted towards highly motivated group of high school students that all are willing to “sacrifice” three weeks of their summer vacation in exchange for graduate-level experience. Our participation in this program took form by providing both skill-based mentorship and a behind-the-scenes glimpse of what it takes to be a member of COSMOS. Unfortunately, theRead More →

COSMOS is pleased to announce that its director Dr. Nitin Agarwal has been awarded a $2.4 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for the development of novel socio-computational methodologies to model emerging cyber-social threats and strengthen social cybersecurity research infrastructure. The funding will support the development of social media cells that assist with information environment assessment in real time and the rapid and appropriate response to the growing weaponization of social media in influencing peace keeping, tactical, operational, and strategic operations. Military units at all levels will benefit from the identification of threats and opportunities within the information environment (IE). Creating well-trained socialRead More →

On Thursday, April 18, students showcased their work at the Student Research and Creative Works Expo and EIT Open House. Guests viewed displays of capstone projects, theses, dissertations, and other research. COSMOS was well-presented by Kiran Kumar Bandeli, Nihal Hussain, Thomas Marcoux, Billy Spann, Richard Young, Michael DiCicco, Tuja Khaund, Karen Watts and Adewale Obadimu who showcased their work. Our team members were presented with numerous awards at the 2019 Student Research and Creative Works Expo Awards Ceremony and the EIT Open House Awards Ceremony: Student Research and Creative Works Expo – First Place: Zachary Stine Student Research and Creative Works Expo – Second Place: TujaRead More →

Doctoral student Zachary Stine presented research about machine learning and the legislative evolution of Ukraine during the EIT Colloquium on March 1.  Stine and co-author Dr. Nitin Agarwal explored methods on how to quantify change in Ukrainian legislation over time in order to provide a complementary view into the larger political dynamics of the country. In order for the audience to understand the legislative evolution of Ukraine, Stine provided an overview of the recent political events. Since its independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine has gone through several political challenges.  The ongoing conflict with Russia became a global focal point when Russia annexedRead More →