Abstract: Twitter, a popular social media outlet, has evolved into a vast source of linguistic data, rich with opinion, sentiment, and discussion. Due to the increasing popularity of Twitter, its perceived potential for exerting social influence has led to the rise of a diverse community of automatons, commonly referred to as bots. These inorganic and semi-organic Twitter entities can range from the benevolent (e.g., weather-update bots, help-wanted-alert bots) to the malevolent (e.g., spamming messages, advertisements, or radical opinions). Existing detection algorithms typically leverage metadata (time between tweets, number of followers, etc.) to identify robotic accounts. Here, we present a powerful classification scheme that exclusively uses the natural language text from organic users to provide a criterion for identifying accounts posting automated messages. Since the classifier operates on text alone, it is flexible and may be applied to any textual data beyond the Twittersphere.
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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).