Team COSMOS

At a time when the world is advancing in technologies at a dizzy rate, it is safe to say that social media channels have become the order of the day. Today, it just does not connect people or help them communicate, it has grown to be the biggest influencer in our lives. The Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) Lab uses social computing, machine learning, artificial intelligence, cyber forensics, and deep web search-based methodologies to study individuals, groups, and societies; online behaviors as they manifest and co-evolve with the digital communication tools; and information on the Internet. Furthermore, how information and behaviors spread through social media and digital communication platforms, how groups evolve, what is the role of social, political, and cultural dynamics in various physical or cyber events, and how people and groups strategically use digital communication tools and the information (mis/dis-information) to conduct campaigns for raising awareness about social issues or simply disseminate propaganda.

At COSMOS, we study the various aspects of social media and online behavior – the good, bad and the ugly. From Saudi Arabians women’s rights to drive cyber campaigns to Autism campaigns to ISIS’ and anti-West/anti-NATO propaganda campaigns, Dr. Nitin Agarwal is directing several such research projects with funding from the U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Office of Naval Research (ONR), U.S. Air Force Research Lab (AFRL), U.S. Army Research Office (ARO), and U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

Research at COSMOS has made foundational contributions to computational social network analysis to study digital/cyber campaign coordination, identify powerful actors and groups, study propaganda dissemination, event analysis, monitoring cyber threats through social media, social-cyberforensics , smart health and well-being, social media in learning environments, network and communication, and socially aware mobile networks.

COSMOS has developed a tool called ‘BlogTrackers’ which allows users to analyze blogs, identify key information actors, opinion leaders, leading narratives during information campaigns, and study how those narratives spread through myriad forms of social media.

The research is grounded in the social science theories of cyber collective action, social identity formation, resource mobilization, and social movement spillover and leverages concepts from information & computational sciences (including machine learning, data mining, graph mining, social network analysis, content analysis, and natural language processing) and cyber forensic domain.

Today, the lab attracts major talents from within the USA and across the world. It aims to be at the vanguard of the ever-evolving online behaviors.

Mission Statement

COSMOS through its primary research interests in social computing, (deviant) behavior modeling, studying group dynamics, influence, trust, collective action, social-cyber forensics, health informatics, data mining and privacy aims to be at the vanguard of the ever-evolving online behaviors.  

We are COSMOS:

Nitin Agarwal
Director

Dr. Nitin Agarwal is the Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science at UA Little Rock and Director of the Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS). He researches cyber information campaigns, social computing, deviant behavior modeling, group dynamics, social-cyber forensics, data mining, and privacy.

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Muhammad Nihal Hussain
Postdoctorate Research Fellow

Nihal joined UA Little Rock in 2014 to pursue his master’s degree in information quality where he was introduced to COSMOS and the Blogtrackers tool. Since then, Nihal has become one of our core researchers heading this project. He graduated with his doctoral degree in December 2019.

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Doctoral Students

Mustafa Alassad
Ph.D. Candidate

After graduating with his master's degree in systems engineering from UA Little Rock, Mustafa chose to continue in his education in this field and enrolled in the Ph.D. program. He was introduced to COSMOS in the Spring of 2018. His background includes operational research and the protection of infrastructure networks from malicious attacks. 

Tuja Khaund
Ph.D. Candidate

Tuja graduated from UA Little Rock with her master’s degree and is currently pursuing Ph.D. in Computer & Information Sciences at UALR. She specializes in social bots' behaviors, evolution, and detection.

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Esther Mead
Ph.D. Candidate

Esther Ledelle Mead is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Computer Science at UA Little Rock. Esther joined the COSMOS team in the Fall of 2016. Her research interests revolve around Information Quality and Computing in Social Science.

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Adewale Obadimu
Ph.D. Candidate

Wale is pursuing his doctoral degree in computer science at UA Little Rock. He is currently exploring machine learning and deep learning techniques.  He does not only play a crucial role in the development of various COSMOS social media analytics tools, but is also sharing his knowledge with other students in his team and classroom.

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Zachary Stine
Ph.D. Candidate

After several years of part-time, undergraduate coursework in computer science, he joined Dr. Agarwal's lab where he is now a graduate research assistant, researching the use of computational methods to study social phenomena.

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Brian Blake
Ph.D. Student

Brian Blake has almost twenty years of industry experience with Acxiom Corporation. He is currently a senior research analyst with previous roles as a research analyst, database delivery analyst, data developer, and data quality specialist.

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Recep Erol
Ph.D. Student

Recep Erol is a PhD student at the UA Little Rock majoring in Computers and Informations Science with a research interests in information retrieval, computer vision, deep learning, network analysis, and unsupervised learning. Prior to joining COSMOS, he worked as a machine learning engineer at Walmart.

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Rick Galeano
Ph.D. Student

Rick is a PhD student at the UA Little Rock pursuing a degree in Computers and Information Science. His interests revolve around strategic communications, social network analysis and social cyber forensics.

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Ashekul Huq
Ph.D. Student

Ashekul is a doctoral student in Information Quality.

Katrin Kania Galeano
Ph.D. Student

Katrin Galeano is a PhD student at the UA Little Rock. She majors in Computers and Information Science with a research interests in support of the US Army OPSEC program. Her background is in strategic communications for non-profit and government organizations.

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Thomas Marcoux
Ph.D. Student

Thomas graduated from UA Little Rock with an MS degree and is now pursuing his Ph.D. in Information Science. His interests include machine learning and information visualization.

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Billy Spann

Billy has earned his Masters in Computer and Information Science and is now pursue his PhD. His background from the telecom industry is in research, design and optimization of wireless communication networks.

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Karen Watts DiCicco
Ph.D. Student

Karen is pursuing her doctoral's degree in Information Science. She graduated in December 2018 with her bachelor’s degree and Graduate Certificate in Data Science.  After graduating with her master’s degree in Information Science in December 2019, Karen is continues being part COSMOS while earning her Ph.D. in computer and information science with a specialty in developing strategies to fight disinformation campaigns online using blockchain technology.  She is also the Digital & IT Innovation Manager at University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service.

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Graduate Students

Shishila Awung Shimray
Graduate Student

Shishi joined COSMOS in the Fall of 2018 and has become a developer for YouTubeTracker.  She is pursuing her master's degree in computer science.  Prior to enrolling in graduate school, she worked as a software engineer for Netsmart Technologies Inc. She is no stranger to UA Little Rock.  In 2015, Shishi graduated with her bachelor's degree in Electronics and Computer Engineering from UA Little Rock.

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Adekunle Adigun
Graduate Research Assistant

Adekunle is a Master Student of Business Information System at the UA Little Rock - College of Business. He completed his undergraduate studies in Computer Science and Engineering from Obafemi Awolowo University in Nigeria. He is currently a Graduate Research Assistant with COSMOS. He has more than 6 years extensive experience in web application and development, mobile application and developments, web technologies, UX/UI, and programming. 

Abdullah Al Faysal
Graduate Student

Abdullah Al Faysal is pursuing MS in Information Science UA Little Rock. Coding is his passion but he also loves exploring different cuisines when he is not writing codes.

Hayder Al-Rubaye
Graduate Student

Hayder is pursuing his Masters in Applied Science at UA Little Rock. He graduated from Al Nahrain University in Bagdad, Iraq, with a bachelor's degree and master's degree in computer science. His extensive studies focused on web technologies.

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Oluwaseun Leonard Johnson

Seun is currently pursuing a master's degree in Information Science at UALR.  He received his bachelor’s degree in Industrial Physics and Applied Geophysics from Covenant University in Nigeria. 

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Uche Umoga

Uche joined UA Little Rock in 2019 to pursue a master's degree in Computer Science.  His previous experience as a Senior Software Development Engineer and Application Development Manager combined with his bachelor's degree in Computer Science from Landmark University in Nigeria will be beneficial for his work on Blogtrackers.  

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Oluwaseun Walter
Graduate Student

Walter is one of our researchers in the Team COSMOS. He is pursuing Masters in Business Information Systems at UA Little Rock.

Undergraduate Students

Michael DiCicco
Research Assistant

Michael is a full time student at UA Little Rock majoring in Information Science, a full time Service Technician at Arkansas Legal Technologies, and an hourly Research Assistant at COSMOS. 

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Joseph Kready

Joseph is pursing his undergraduate degree in Computer Science. Outside of COSMOS and school, Joseph runs the Artificial Intelligence in Arkansas group, which focuses on building the AI community in Arkansas. 

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Kiran Kumar Bandeli
Data Scientist at Walmart International

In December 2019, Kiran graduated with his doctoral degree in the Information Science program at UA Little Rock.

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Anol Kanti Roy

Anol earned his Masters in Information Science UA Little Rock. When he is not writing codes, he is either hiking, trekking or simply looking out for the next big adventure.

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Richard Young

Richard earned his master's degree in information science applying his skills and interests toward his graduate research assistantship for the team at COSMOS. His interests include data visualization, web development, UI/UX design, and mobile-first design. 

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Serpil Tokdemir Yuce
Program Manager

Dr. Serpil Tokdemir Yuce is a program manager at the office of Medicaid Inspector General and has a joint affiliation with the COSMOS as a Research Associate. She is specializing in extracting and analyzing raw data from Fraud and Abuse Detection systems.

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Rita Chowdhury
2018

Rita is an MBA student at the UA Little Rock - College of Business.  In 2018, Rita was an invaluable team member who performed public relations and research work for COSMOS. She is currently an audit tax intern at Frost, PLLC, in Little Rock.  

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Kim Tran
Ph.D. - Fall 2018

Kim Tran graduated with her Ph.D. in December 2018.  Her research focuses on the validity of patient data found on social networks. 

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Samer Al-khateeb
Ph.D. - Spring 2018

Samer Al-khateeb is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science & Informatics at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He graduated with his Ph.D. in the Spring of 2018 and continued his work at COSMOS as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. His research interests include deviant behavioral modeling, deviant cyber flash mobs, cyber propaganda campaigns, social cyber forensics, and social bots behaviors, evolution, and detection.

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Andrew Pyle
Master of Science - Spring 2018

Andrew graduated with his Master of Science degree in May 2018. He completed a capstone project involving language synthesis for the Twitter social media platform. As a COSMOS research team member, he helped create a web platform to host a network-processing algorithm called Focal Structures Analysis developed by a former UA Little Rock PhD student.

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Abu Fahad Siddiqui
Master of Science - Fall 2017
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Ghouri Mohammad Saaduddin
Master of Science - Fall 2017
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Mukti Barole Shobha Sangappa
Master of Science - Fall 2017
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Najma Shaik
Master of Science - Fall 2017
Mohammad Shiblee Nooman
Master of Science - Summer 2017
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Therese Williams
Ph.D. - Spring 2017
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Amit Saha
Ph.D. - Spring 2016
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Faysal Ahmed
Ph.D. - Spring 2015
Mainuddin Shaik
Master of Science - Spring 2016
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Abdul Fattah Mohammad
Master of Science - Spring 2016
Nermin Hanna
Master of Science - Spring 2015
Fatih Śen
Ph.D. - Spring 2014
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Ismail Guvenc Yuce
Ph.D. - Fall 2012
Masood Mir
Ph.D. - Spring 2012

Masood Mir graduated with his Ph.D. in Applied Computing - Engineering Sciences in the Spring of 2012.  He is a former faculty member of Rowan University and now a DAS Engineer at Verizon Wireless.

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