Abstract: Individual happiness is a fundamental societal metric. Normally measured through self-report, happiness has often been indirectly characterized and overshadowed by more readily quantifiable economic indicators, such as gross domestic product. Here, we use a real-time, remote-sensing, non-invasive, text-based approach&emdash;a kind of hedonometer&emdash;to uncover collective dynamical patterns of happiness levels expressed by over 50 million users in the online, global social network Twitter. With a data set comprising nearly 2.8 billion expressions involving more than 28 billion words, we explore temporal variations in happiness, as well as information levels, over time scales of hours, days, and months. Among many observations, we find a steady global happiness level, evidence of universal weekly and daily patterns of happiness and information, and that happiness and information levels are generally uncorrelated. We also extract and analyse a collection of happiness and information trends based on keywords, showing them to be both sensible and informative, and in effect generating opinion polls without asking questions. Finally, we develop and employ a graphical method that reveals how individual words contribute to changes in average happiness between any two texts.
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Bongard's work focuses on understanding the general nature of cognition, regardless of whether it is found in humans, animals or robots. This unique approach focuses on the role that morphology and evolution plays in cognition. Addressing these questions has taken him into the fields of biology, psychology, engineering and computer science.
Danforth is an applied mathematician interested in modeling a variety of physical, biological, and social phenomenon. He has applied principles of chaos theory to improve weather forecasts as a member of the Mathematics and Climate Research Network, and developed a real-time remote sensor of global happiness using messages from Twitter: the Hedonometer. Danforth co-runs the Computational Story Lab with Peter Dodds, and helps run UVM's reading group on complexity.
Laurent studies the interaction of structure and dynamics. His research involves network theory, statistical physics and nonlinear dynamics along with their applications in epidemiology, ecology, biology, and sociology. Recent projects include comparing complex networks of different nature, the coevolution of human behavior and infectious diseases, understanding the role of forest shape in determining stability of tropical forests, as well as the impact of echo chambers in political discussions.
Hines' work broadly focuses on finding ways to make electric energy more reliable, more affordable, with less environmental impact. Particular topics of interest include understanding the mechanisms by which small problems in the power grid become large blackouts, identifying and mitigating the stresses caused by large amounts of electric vehicle charging, and quantifying the impact of high penetrations of wind/solar on electricity systems.
Bagrow's interests include: Complex Networks (community detection, social modeling and human dynamics, statistical phenomena, graph similarity and isomorphism), Statistical Physics (non-equilibrium methods, phase transitions, percolation, interacting particle systems, spin glasses), and Optimization(glassy techniques such as simulated/quantum annealing, (non-gradient) minimization of noisy objective functions).