Truthy Team Wins WICI Data Challenge

Fil Menzer

A team comprised of Professor of Informatics and Computer Science Fil Menczer and Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research visiting scholars Przemyslaw Grabowicz and Luca Aiello won the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation (WICI) Data Challenge with their entry titled “Fast Visualization of Relevant Portions of Large Dynamic Networks.”

The Challenge called for tools and methods that improve the exploration, analysis, and visualization of complex-systems data.

The team developed an algorithm for fast visualization of large, dynamic networks, which creates a YouTube movie in near-real time, focusing on the most interesting events. The code is implemented on the system and available as an open source for anyone to use it and improve on it.

According to Menczer, one of the goals of the Truthy project, of which this tool is a component, is to make social media analytics more understandable for policymakers, reporters, and the public, so that people can better appreciate both the potential and the risks of these technologies.

“Allowing anyone to create an animation visualizing how a meme spreads over time is a good example of these efforts. Winning the WICI Data Challenge is a great honor and recognition for Przemek, Luca, and our entire center and school” said Menczer.

The Truthy project is a part of the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research that focuses on understanding how information spreads through complex socio-technical information networks.

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