Social Network Research Featured in US News and World Report

11/15/2010

Professor Dan Stefanescu of the Department of Math and Computer Science was featured in a US News and World Report Web article for research he directs using online social networks.

The article, "Online Social Networks and Human Behavior," by Marlene Cimons of the National Science Foundation (NSF), highlights the challenges of research work in online social networks as well as the socio-economic importance of such research.

The NSF has provided Stefanescu with a three-year grant to pursue this research.

Stefanescu’s approach involves accumulating large social network data sets, performing data analyses, and “proposing and testing models to explain the dynamics of certain behaviors.”

Calling it “more pervasive than real-life social networking,” Stefanescu explains how online social networking is different and in many ways more efficient than networking face-to-face. He notes that online networks’ ease of use leads to more connections among friends, better matches between employees and employers, more exposure for small businesses, and more efficient creation of new businesses.

Stefanescu and Computer Science colleagues Dmitry Zinoviev and Honggang Zhang are pursuing a number of research topics in this area, including issues of preferential knowledge acquisition, mathematical and statistical properties of these networks, and exploration of aspects of privacy in online social networks.

The NSF grant allows for the establishment of Suffolk as an NSF site for undergraduate research, with selected students from across the nation conducting summer research on online social networks at the University.

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