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Muslim radicalism is recognized as one of the greatest security threats for the United States and the rest of the world. Use of force to eliminate specific radical entities is ineffective in containing radicalism as a whole. There is a need to understand the origin, ideologies and behavior of Radical and Counter-Radical organizations and how they shape up over a period of time. Recognizing and supporting counter-radical organizations is one of the most important steps towards impeding radical organizations. A lot of research has already been done to categorize and recognize organizations, to understand their behavior, their interactions with other organizations, their target demographics and the area of influence. We have a huge amount of information which is a result of the research done over these topics. This thesis provides a powerful and interactive way to navigate through all this information, using a Visualization Dashboard. The dashboard makes it easier for Social Scientists, Policy Analysts, Military and other personnel to visualize an organization's propensity towards violence and radicalism. It also tracks the peaking religious, political and socio-economic markers, their target demographics and locations. A powerful search interface with parametric search helps in narrowing down to specific scenarios and view the corresponding information related to the organizations. This tool helps to identify moderate Counter-Radical organizations and also has the potential of predicting the orientation of various organizations based on the current information.
US Senate is the venue of political debates where the federal bills are formed and voted. Senators show their support/opposition along the bills with their votes. This information makes it possible to extract the polarity of the senators. Similarly, blogosphere plays an increasingly important role as a forum for public debate. Authors display sentiment toward issues, organizations or people using a natural language.
In this research, given a mixed set of senators/blogs debating on a set of political issues from opposing camps, I use signed bipartite graphs for modeling debates, and I propose an algorithm for partitioning both the opinion holders (senators or blogs) and the issues (bills or topics) comprising the debate into binary opposing camps. Simultaneously, my algorithm scales the entities on a univariate scale. Using this scale, a researcher can identify moderate and extreme senators/blogs within each camp, and polarizing versus unifying issues. Through performance evaluations I show that my proposed algorithm provides an effective solution to the problem, and performs much better than existing baseline algorithms adapted to solve this new problem. In my experiments, I used both real data from political blogosphere and US Congress records, as well as synthetic data which were obtained by varying polarization and degree distribution of the vertices of the graph to show the robustness of my algorithm.
I also applied my algorithm on all the terms of the US Senate to the date for longitudinal analysis and developed a web based interactive user interface www.PartisanScale.com to visualize the analysis.
US politics is most often polarized with respect to the left/right alignment of the entities. However, certain issues do not reflect the polarization due to political parties, but observe a split correlating to the demographics of the senators, or simply receive consensus. I propose a hierarchical clustering algorithm that identifies groups of bills that share the same polarization characteristics. I developed a web based interactive user interface www.ControversyAnalysis.com to visualize the clusters while providing a synopsis through distribution charts, word clouds, and heat maps.
Traditionally, visualization is one of the most important and commonly used methods of generating insight into large scale data. Particularly for spatiotemporal data, the translation of such data into a visual form allows users to quickly see patterns, explore summaries and relate domain knowledge about underlying geographical phenomena that would not be apparent in tabular form. However, several critical challenges arise when visualizing and exploring these large spatiotemporal datasets. While, the underlying geographical component of the data lends itself well to univariate visualization in the form of traditional cartographic representations (e.g., choropleth, isopleth, dasymetric maps), as the data becomes multivariate, cartographic representations become more complex. To simplify the visual representations, analytical methods such as clustering and feature extraction are often applied as part of the classification phase. The automatic classification can then be rendered onto a map; however, one common issue in data classification is that items near a classification boundary are often mislabeled.
This thesis explores methods to augment the automated spatial classification by utilizing interactive machine learning as part of the cluster creation step. First, this thesis explores the design space for spatiotemporal analysis through the development of a comprehensive data wrangling and exploratory data analysis platform. Second, this system is augmented with a novel method for evaluating the visual impact of edge cases for multivariate geographic projections. Finally, system features and functionality are demonstrated through a series of case studies, with key features including similarity analysis, multivariate clustering, and novel visual support for cluster comparison.
The connections between different entities define different kinds of networks, and many such networked phenomena are influenced by their underlying geographical relationships. By integrating network and geospatial analysis, the goal is to extract information about interaction topologies and the relationships to related geographical constructs. In the recent decades, much work has been done analyzing the dynamics of spatial networks; however, many challenges still remain in this field. First, the development of social media and transportation technologies has greatly reshaped the typologies of communications between different geographical regions. Second, the distance metrics used in spatial analysis should also be enriched with the underlying network information to develop accurate models.
Visual analytics provides methods for data exploration, pattern recognition, and knowledge discovery. However, despite the long history of geovisualizations and network visual analytics, little work has been done to develop visual analytics tools that focus specifically on geographically networked phenomena. This thesis develops a variety of visualization methods to present data values and geospatial network relationships, which enables users to interactively explore the data. Users can investigate the connections in both virtual networks and geospatial networks and the underlying geographical context can be used to improve knowledge discovery. The focus of this thesis is on social media analysis and geographical hotspots optimization. A framework is proposed for social network analysis to unveil the links between social media interactions and their underlying networked geospatial phenomena. This will be combined with a novel hotspot approach to improve hotspot identification and boundary detection with the networks extracted from urban infrastructure. Several real world problems have been analyzed using the proposed visual analytics frameworks. The primary studies and experiments show that visual analytics methods can help analysts explore such data from multiple perspectives and help the knowledge discovery process.
This research start utilizing an efficient sparse inverse covariance matrix (precision matrix) estimation technique to identify a set of highly correlated discriminative perspectives between radical and counter-radical groups. A ranking system has been developed that utilizes ranked perspectives to map Islamic organizations on a set of socio-cultural, political and behavioral scales based on their web site corpus. Simultaneously, a gold standard ranking of these organizations was created through domain experts and compute expert-to-expert agreements and present experimental results comparing the performance of the QUIC based scaling system to another baseline method for organizations. The QUIC based algorithm not only outperforms the baseline methods, but it is also the only system that consistently performs at area expert-level accuracies for all scales. Also, a multi-scale ideological model has been developed and it investigates the correlates of Islamic extremism in Indonesia, Nigeria and UK. This analysis demonstrate that violence does not correlate strongly with broad Muslim theological or sectarian orientations; it shows that religious diversity intolerance is the only consistent and statistically significant ideological correlate of Islamic extremism in these countries, alongside desire for political change in UK and Indonesia, and social change in Nigeria. Next, dynamic issues and communities tracking system based on NMF(Non-negative Matrix Factorization) co-clustering algorithm has been built to better understand the dynamics of virtual communities. The system used between Iran and Saudi Arabia to build and apply a multi-party agent-based model that can demonstrate the role of wedges and spoilers in a complex environment where coalitions are dynamic. Lastly, a visual intelligence platform for tracking the diffusion of online social movements has been developed called LookingGlass to track the geographical footprint, shifting positions and flows of individuals, topics and perspectives between groups. The algorithm utilize large amounts of text collected from a wide variety of organizations’ media outlets to discover their hotly debated topics, and their discriminative perspectives voiced by opposing camps organized into multiple scales. Discriminating perspectives is utilized to classify and map individual Tweeter’s message content to social movements based on the perspectives expressed in their tweets.
Social media has become a direct and effective means of transmitting personal opinions into the cyberspace. The use of certain key-words and their connotations in tweets portray a meaning that goes beyond the screen and affects behavior. During terror attacks or worldwide crises, people turn to social media as a means of managing their anxiety, a mechanism of Terror Management Theory (TMT). These opinions have distinct impacts on the emotions that people express both online and offline through both positive and negative sentiments. This paper focuses on using sentiment analysis on twitter hash-tags during five major terrorist attacks that created a significant response on social media, which collectively show the effects that 140-character tweets have on perceptions in social media. The purpose of analyzing the sentiments of tweets after terror attacks allows for the visualization of the effect of key-words and the possibility of manipulation by the use of emotional contagion. Through sentiment analysis, positive, negative and neutral emotions were portrayed in the tweets. The keywords detected also portray characteristics about terror attacks which would allow for future analysis and predictions in regards to propagating a specific emotion on social media during future crisis.
Elizabeth Grumbach, the project manager of the Institute for Humanities Research's Digital Humanities Initiative, shares methodologies and best practices for designing a digital humanities project. The workshop will offer participants an introduction to digital humanities fundamentals, specifically tools and methodologies. Participants explore technologies and platforms that allow scholars of all skills levels to engage with digital humanities methods. Participants will be introduced to a variety of tools (including mapping, visualization, data analytics, and multimedia digital publication platforms), and how and why to choose specific applications, platforms, and tools based on project needs.