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  1. Common knowledge (CK) is a phenomenon where each individual within a group knows the same information and everyone knows that everyone knows the information, infinitely recursively. CK spreads information as a contagion through social networks in ways different from other models like susceptible-infectious-recovered (SIR) model. In a model of CK on Facebook, the biclique serves as the characterizing graph substructure for generating CK, as all nodes within a biclique share CK through their walls. To understand the effects of network structure on CK-based contagion, it is necessary to control the numbers and sizes of bicliques in networks. Thus, learning how to generate these CK networks (CKNs) is important. Consequently, we develop an exponential random graph model (ERGM) that constructs networks while controlling for bicliques. Our method offers powerful prediction and inference, reduces computational costs significantly, and has proven its merit in contagion dynamics through numerical experiments. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  2. Corlu, C. G. ; Hunter, S. R. ; Lam, H. ; Onggo, B. S. ; Shortle, J. ; Biller, B. (Ed.)
    Experiments that are games played among a network of players are widely used to study human behavior. Furthermore, bots or intelligent systems can be used in these games to produce contexts that elicit particular types of human responses. Bot behaviors could be specified solely based on experimental data. In this work, we take a different perspective, called the Probability Calibration (PC) approach, to simulate networked group anagram games with certain players having bot-like behaviors. The proposed method starts with data-driven models and calibrates in principled ways the parameters that alter player behaviors. It can alter the performance of each type of agent (e.g., bot) in group anagram games. Further, statistical methods are used to test whether the PC models produce results that are statistically different from those of the original models. Case studies demonstrate the merits of the proposed method. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available January 1, 2025
  3. When modeling human behavior in multi-player games, it is important to understand heterogeneous aspects of player behaviors. By leveraging experimental data and agent-based simulations, various data-driven modeling methods can be applied. This provides a great opportunity to quantify and visualize the uncertainty associated with these methods, allowing for a more comprehensive understanding of the individual and collective behaviors among players. For networked anagram games, player behaviors can be heterogeneous in terms of the number of words formed and the amount of cooperation among networked neighbors. Based on game data, these games can be modeled as discrete dynamical systems characterized by probabilistic state transitions. In this work, we present both Frequentist and Bayesian approaches for visualizing uncertainty in networked anagram games. These approaches help to elaborate how players individually and collectively form words by sharing letters with their neighbors in a network. Both approaches provide valuable insights into inferring the worst, average, and best player performance within and between behavioral clusters. Moreover, interesting contrasts between the Frequentist and Bayesian approaches can be observed. The knowledge and inferences gained from these approaches are incorporated into an agent-based simulation framework to further demonstrate model uncertainty and players’ heterogeneous behaviors. 
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    Free, publicly-accessible full text available August 24, 2024
  4. In group anagram games, players cooperate to form words by sharing letters that they are initially given. The aim is to form as many words as possible as a group, within five minutes. Players take several different actions: requesting letters from their neighbors, replying to letter requests, and forming words. Agent-based models (ABMs) for the game compute likelihoods of each player’s next action, which contain uncertainty, as they are estimated from experimental data. We adopt a Bayesian approach as a natural means of quantifying uncertainty, to enhance the ABM for the group anagram game. Specifically, a Bayesian nonparametric clustering method is used to group player behaviors into different clusters without pre-specifying the number of clusters. Bayesian multi nominal regression is adopted to model the transition probabilities among different actions of the players in the ABM. We describe the methodology and the benefits of it, and perform agent-based simulations of the game. 
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  5. Heterogeneous player behaviors are commonly observed in games. It is important to quantify and visualize these heterogeneities in order to understand collective behaviors. Our work focuses on developing a Bayesian approach for uncertainty visualization in a model of networked anagram games. In these games, team members collectively form as many words as possible by sharing letters with their neighbors in a network. Heterogeneous player behaviors include great differences in numbers of words formed and the amount of cooperation among networked neighbors. Our Bayesian approach provides meaningful insights for inferring worst, average, and best player performance within behavioral clusters, overcoming previous model shortcomings. These inferences are integrated into a simulation framework to understand the implications of model uncertainty and players' heterogeneous behaviors. 
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  6. There are myriad real-life examples of contagion processes on human social networks, e.g., spread of viruses, information, and social unrest. Also, there are many methods to control or block contagion spread. In this work, we introduce a novel method of blocking contagions that uses nodes from dominating sets (DSs). To our knowledge, this is the first use of DS nodes to block contagions. Finding minimum dominating sets of graphs is an NP-Complete problem, so we generalize a well-known heuristic, enabling us to customize its execution. Our method produces a prioritized list of dominating nodes, which is, in turn, a prioritized list of blocking nodes. Thus, for a given network, we compute this list of blocking nodes and we use it to block contagions for all blocking node budgets, contagion seed sets, and parameter values of the contagion model. We report on computational experiments of the blocking efficacy of our approach using two mined networks. We also demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by comparing blocking results with those from the high degree heuristic, which is a common standard in blocking studies. 
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  7. Motivated by a wide range of applications, research on agent-based models of contagion propagation over networks has attracted a lot of attention in the literature. Many of the available software systems for simulating such agent-based models require users to download software, build the executable, and set up execution environments. Further, running the resulting executable may require access to high performance computing clusters. Our work describes an open access software system (NetSimS) that works under the “Modeling and Simulation as a Service” (MSaaS) paradigm. It enables users to run simulations by selecting models and parameter values, initial conditions, and networks through a web interface. The system supports a variety of models and networks with millions of nodes and edges. In addition to the simulator, the system includes components that enable users to choose initial conditions for simulations in a variety of ways, to analyze the data generated through simulations, and to produce plots from the data. We describe the components of NetSimS and carry out a performance evaluation of the system. We also discuss two case studies carried out on large networks using the system. NetSimS is a major component within net.science, a cyberinfrastructure for network science. 
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  8. Abstract We consider the simultaneous propagation of two contagions over a social network. We assume a threshold model for the propagation of the two contagions and use the formal framework of discrete dynamical systems. In particular, we study an optimization problem where the goal is to minimize the total number of new infections subject to a budget constraint on the total number of available vaccinations for the contagions. While this problem has been considered in the literature for a single contagion, our work considers the simultaneous propagation of two contagions. This optimization problem is NP-hard. We present two main solution approaches for the problem, namely an integer linear programming (ILP) formulation to obtain optimal solutions and a heuristic based on a generalization of the set cover problem. We carry out a comprehensive experimental evaluation of our solution approaches using many real-world networks. The experimental results show that our heuristic algorithm produces solutions that are close to the optimal solution and runs several orders of magnitude faster than the ILP-based approach for obtaining optimal solutions. We also carry out sensitivity studies of our heuristic algorithm. 
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