Backed by a $5.6 million grant from the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, a team at Stanford is embarking on a four-year project to better understand and model complex communication patterns in social networks in real time…The new project is called MEGA: Modern Graph Analysis for Dynamic Networks, and is led by Associate Professor Ashish Goel. A team of seven principal investigators… will develop algorithms which model human communication and detect subtle patterns in huge data sets from social media.
DARPA is interested because, from a national security standpoint, big data holds the promise of recognizing threats in unusual or suspicious social interactions of terrorists and other foreign adversaries. Our daily social communication is spread across many forms of interaction. E-mails, tweets, text messages and Facebook posts define our modern social lives. More than ever, information about this correspondence and behavior can be collected, stored, and made available to computer scientists.With access to billions of tweets, e-mails and text messages, a project like MEGA can build reliable mathematical models of social phenomena, like the way news spreads through a network for instance, or even how people choose their social connections, Goel said.
One goal of the MEGA project is to model human online behavior and find how it shapes social networks… The second component of MEGA’s research: writing the step-by-step procedures for processing distributed data in real time….Some of their algorithms and programs will be passed directly to DARPA to be used in a security context…
Excerpt, DARPA Grant Will Help Stanford Dig Deep into the Big Data in Social Networks, Stanford.edu, April 24, 2013