Title: Media Matters: Innovations to Improve the Value Derived from Social Media Networks
Presenter(s): Nitin Agrawal, Serhan Dagtas, Ashlea Bennett Milburn, Christopher Trudeau, and Justin Zhan
Date presented: March 31, 2021


Social media platforms have billions of active users and significantly impacted our society. New types of platforms or new features in existing platforms continue to be developed to meet users’ demands. With an increasingly large amount of unstructured social data on these platforms, social media and networking analysis research aims to develop efficient, reliable, scalable, explainable, reproducible, and theoretically grounded data science approaches to understand our digital behaviors and make it a safer and valuable place. Our talk will focus on collective opinions and their evolution, deviant behavior modeling, automatic annotation of multimedia data, and informing disaster response with social media.

Presenter Bios

Dr. Nitin Agarwal is the Jerry L. Maulden-Entergy Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor of Information Science at University of Arkansas at Little Rock. He is the founding director of the Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) Research Center at UA Little Rock. His research aims to push the boundaries of our understanding of digital and cyber social behaviors that emerge and evolve constantly in the modern information and communication platforms. At COSMOS, he is leading projects with over $20 million funding from an array of U.S. federal agencies including Department of Defense, DARPA, Department of State, National Science Foundation and plays a significant role in the long-term partnership between UA Little Rock and the Department of Homeland Security. These projects range from social computing and (deviant) behavior modeling to smart health to smart cities and infrastructure resiliency leveraging fundamentals of AI, big data mining, machine learning, network science, group dynamics, influence, trust, collective action, and social cyberforensics. He developed publicly available social media mining tools, assisting NATO Strategic Communications and public affairs and other agencies. He has published 10 books and over 200 articles in top-tier peer-reviewed forums with several best paper awards and nominations and delivered over 100 keynotes and invited talks at DARPA, Pentagon, NATO, Department of State, Facebook, Twitter, Singapore ministries, among others. Visit http://cosmos.ualr.edu/about/nitinagarwal/ for more details. 

Dr. Serhan Dagtas joined the faculty of University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 2002 at the Department of Information Science. Dr. Dagtas earned a B.S. degree in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Bilkent University, Turkey in 1991 and M.S. and Ph.D degrees from Purdue University in 1994 and 1998, both in Electrical and Computer Engineering. He served as a senior research scholar in various industrial research organizations such as SIEMENS and PHILIPS Research before he moved to academia in 2002. He has also served on the faculties of University of Waterloo in Canada and in various international academic institutions. Dr. Dagtas was a Chief Academic Officer at SAP Labs in Canada while on a sabbatical leave in 2007-2008. Dr. Dagtas has worked extensively in the areas of multimedia systems, internet of things (IOT) applications and data science.

Dr. Ashlea Bennett Milburn is an Associate Professor of Industrial Engineering at the University of Arkansas. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech, respectively. Dr. Milburn’s research focuses on applying operations research tools and techniques to large-scale logistics planning problems arising in the healthcare and humanitarian sectors. She currently holds a NSF CAREER Award to study the use of uncertain social data in logistics response planning. Dr. Milburn teaches courses in transportation logistics and facility logistics and has been recognized with awards for her teaching at the department, college and international levels. She currently serves as a Board Member and Associate Editor for INFORMS Transactions on Education.

Christopher R. Trudeau, JD, is an Associate Professor at the University of Arkansas Little Rock, Bowen School of Law. He also leads the Regulatory Knowledge & Support function for the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Translational Research Institute. Professor Trudeau is a recognized expert on clear legal communication, informed consent, and health literacy. He is the first lawyer to be appointed to the US National Academies’ Roundtable on Health Literacy and the Food & Drug Administration’s Risk Communication Advisory Committee. He frequently speaks on creating clear legal documents that people can understand on reducing organizational risk and while increasing compliance. He is also the author of the first U.S. study to focus on the public’s perception of legal communication. In 2018, he published a follow-up study with an international focus. Both of those studies can be found by searching: “The Public Speaks: An Empirical Study of Legal Communication” and “The Public Speaks, Again: An International Study of Legal Communication”

Dr. Justin Zhan is an ARA Scholar and professor of data science at the Department of Computer Science and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Arkansas. He is also a professor at the Department of Biomedical Informatics, College of Medicine, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. His research interests include data science, artificial intelligence, blockchain technologies, biomedical informatics, information assurance, and social computing. He was a steering chair of the IEEE International Conference on Social Computing (SocialCom), IEEE International Conference on Privacy, Security, Risk and Trust (PASSAT), and IEEE International Conference on BioMedical Computing (BioMedCom). He has been an editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Privacy, Security and Integrity, and International Journal of Social Computing and Cyber-Physical Systems. He has served as a conference general chair, a program chair, a publicity chair, a workshop chair, and a program committee member for 200 international conferences; he has also served as an editor-in-chief, editor, associate editor, guest editor, editorial advisory board member, and editorial board member for 30 journals. He has published 250 articles in peer-reviewed journals and conferences and delivered more than 30 keynote speeches and invited talks. He has been involved in more than 55 projects as a principal investigator (PI) or a Co-PI, which were funded by the National Science Foundation, Department of Defense, National Institute of Health, etc.