Modeling Individual and Group Behavior in Complex Interactive Systems

December 31, 2020

GLODEM AI & CSS Seminar Series

Title: Modeling Individual and Group Behavior in Complex Interactive Systems

Date: 5 January 2021 – Tuesday

Time:18:00-19:30 (GMT+3)

Place: This seminar will be conducted on Zoom

Presenter: Onur Varol, Assistant Professor of Computer Science, Sabanci University

Moderator: Dr. Merih Angın, Director of MA-CSSL, Assistant Professor of International Relations, Koç University


MA-CSSL proudly presents Dr. Onur Varol’s seminar on January 5th, co-hosted by the Department of International Relations & GLODEM:

Abstract: The unprecedented increase in social media use and the large-scale collection of information poses new threats as well as bringing new opportunities. Modeling and managing complex interactive systems require mining of social and technological signals for new insights into human society and individual behavior. Online social networks have been taking an essential part in our access to information and it acts as a good proxy for studying population-level behavioral patterns and making individual-level predictions. In this talk, I will be presenting my research on analyzing various account behaviors from social bots disseminating misinformation to human venting their emotions to their friends. First, I will present Botometer, a platform for detecting social bots, that is widely adopted in academia and industry to study the dissemination of misinformation and characterization of automated behavior. Using estimations by Botometer, I will show how bot activities have effects on information spread, and I will demonstrate our results on estimating the prevalence of social bots and anomalous patterns captured among popular accounts investigated. I will conclude my talk by presenting how we can leverage social media to study the evolution of human emotions in a minute-scale resolution at the population scale and talk about my research agenda to model interactions between well-being, online and offline activities, and various biological information.

Bio: Onur Varol is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Sabanci University. He holds a B.Sc. in Electronics Engineering and in Physics Engineering from Istanbul Technical University, an M.Sc. in Computer Science and Engineering from Koc University and a Ph.D. in Informatics from Indiana University. Prior to joining Sabanci University, he was a postdoctoral researcher at the Northeastern University Networks Science Institute. His VIRAL Lab focuses on computational social science, networks, and machine learning. His research activities focus on modeling user interactions, leveraging online data across multiple platforms to understand conscious and unconscious behaviors.

Please visit to register for the event (advance registration required)