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Creators/Authors contains: "Nettasinghe, Buddhika"

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  1. This paper studies controlling segregation in social networks via exogenous incentives. We construct an edge formation game on a directed graph. A user (node) chooses the probability with which it forms an inter- or intra- community edge based on a utility function that reflects the tradeoff between homophily (preference to connect with individuals that belong to the same group) and the preference to obtain an exogenous incentive. Decisions made by the users to connect with each other determine the evolution of the social network. We explore an algorithmic recommendation mechanism where the exogenous incentive in the utility function is based on weak ties which incentivizes users to connect across communities and mitigates the segregation. This setting leads to a submodular game with a unique Nash equilibrium. In numerical simulations, we explore how the proposed model can be useful in controlling segregation and echo chambers in social networks under various settings. 
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  2. Abstract

    Preferential attachment, homophily, and their consequences such as scale-free (i.e. power-law) degree distributions, the glass ceiling effect (the unseen, yet unbreakable barrier that keeps minorities and women from rising to the upper rungs of the corporate ladder, regardless of their qualifications or achievements) and perception bias are well-studied in undirected networks. However, such consequences and the factors that lead to their emergence in directed networks (e.g. author–citation graphs, Twitter) are yet to be coherently explained in an intuitive, theoretically tractable manner using a single dynamical model. To this end, we present a theoretical and numerical analysis of the novel Directed Mixed Preferential Attachment model in order to explain the emergence of scale-free degree distributions and the glass ceiling effect in directed networks with two groups (minority and majority). Specifically, we first derive closed-form expressions for the power-law exponents of the in-degree and out-degree distributions of each of the two groups and then compare the derived exponents with each other to obtain useful insights. These insights include answers to questions such as: when does the minority group have an out-degree (or in-degree) distribution with a heavier tail compared to the majority group? what factors cause the tail of the out-degree distribution of a group to be heavier than the tail of its own in-degree distribution? what effect does frequent addition of edges between existing nodes have on the in-degree and out-degree distributions of the majority and minority groups? Answers to these questions shed light on the interplay between structure (i.e. the in-degree and out-degree distributions of the two groups) and dynamics (characterized collectively by the homophily, preferential attachment, group sizes and growth dynamics) of various real-world directed networks. We also provide a novel definition of the glass ceiling faced by a group via the number of individuals with large out-degree (i.e. those with many followers) normalized by the number of individuals with large in-degree (i.e. those who follow many others) and then use it to characterize the conditions that cause the glass ceiling effect to emerge in a directed network. Our analytical results are supported by detailed numerical experiments. The DMPA model and its theoretical and numerical analysis provided in this article are useful for analysing various phenomena on directed networks in fields such as network science and computational social science.

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  3. This paper deals with randomized polling of a social network. In the case of forecasting the outcome of an election between two candidates A and B, classical intent polling asks randomly sampled individuals: who will you vote for? Expectation polling asks: who do you think will win? In this paper, we propose a novel neighborhood expectation polling (NEP) strategy that asks randomly sampled individuals: what is your estimate of the fraction of votes for A? Therefore, in NEP, sampled individuals will naturally look at their neighbors (defined by the underlying social network graph) when answering this question. Hence, the mean squared error (MSE) of NEP methods rely on selecting the optimal set of samples from the network. To this end, we propose three NEP algorithms for the following cases: (i) the social network graph is not known but, random walks (sequential exploration) can be performed on the graph (ii) the social network graph is unknown. For case (i) and (ii), two algorithms based on a graph theoretic consequence called friendship paradox are proposed. Theoretical results on the dependence of the MSE of the algorithms on the properties of the network are established. Numerical results on real and synthetic data sets are provided to illustrate the performance of the algorithms. 
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  4. We consider SIS contagion processes over networks where, a classical assumption is that individuals' decisions to adopt a contagion are based on their immediate neighbors. However, recent literature shows that some attributes are more correlated between two-hop neighbors, a concept referred to as monophily. This motivates us to explore monophilic contagion, the case where a contagion (e.g. a product, disease) is adopted by considering two-hop neighbors instead of immediate neighbors (e.g. you ask your friend about the new iPhone and she recommends you the opinion of one of her friends). We show that the phenomenon called friendship paradox makes it easier for the monophilic contagion to spread widely. We also consider the case where the underlying network stochastically evolves in response to the state of the contagion (e.g. depending on the severity of a flu virus, people restrict their interactions with others to avoid getting infected) and show that the dynamics of such a process can be approximated by a differential equation whose trajectory satisfies an algebraic constraint restricting it to a manifold. Our results shed light on how graph theoretic consequences affect contagions and, provide simple deterministic models to approximate the collective dynamics of contagions over stochastic graph processes. 
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