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The University of Southampton
CORMSIS Centre for Operational Research, Management Sciences and Information Systems

POSTPONED - "The structure of social influence in recommender networks" -- talk by Pantelis P. Analytis (University of Southern Denmark) Event

15:00 - 17:00
30 April 2020
Building 2, Room 3043, Southampton Business School, University of Southampton, Highfield Campus, SO17 1BJ

Event details

The ability of people to influence the opinion of others on matters of taste varies greatly---both in the offline world and in recommender systems. What are the mechanisms underlying this striking inequality? We use the weighted k-nearest-neighbor algorithm to represent an array of social learning strategies and show---using network theory---how this gives rise to networks of social influence in six real-world domains of taste. By doing so, we show three novel results that apply both to offline advice taking and online recommender settings. First, influential individuals have mainstream tastes and high dispersion in their taste similarity with others. Second, the fewer people an individual or algorithm consults (i.e., the lower k) and the more sensitive an individual or algorithm is to how similar other people are, the smaller the group of people with substantial influence. Third, the influence networks that emerge are hierarchically organized. Our results shed new light on classic empirical findings in communication and network science and can help improve our understanding of social influence in the offline and online world.

Speaker information

Pantelis P Analytis, University of Southern Denmark, is an Assistant Professor at the Danish-IAS at the University of Southern Denmark (SDU). He has background in economics and cognitive psychology and is self-taught in machine learning, computational social science and a few other disciplines. In his research, Pantelis develops mathematical and computational models of individual and collective behavior and uses experiments, big-data and large-scale simulations to assess their descriptive and prescriptive value.

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