Invited speaker

Emilio Ferrara
University of Southern California, Los Angeles


Human online behavior: modeling performance trajectories, cognitive biases, and success

The increasing availability of data across different socio-technical systems, such as online social networks and social media, presents novel challenges and intriguing research opportunities. As more online services permeate through our everyday life and as data from various domains are connected and integrated with each other, the boundary between the real and the online worlds becomes blurry. Such data convey both online and offline activities of people, as well as multiple time scales and resolutions. In this talk, I’ll discuss two research projects: in the first, we tried to understand whether mining data from online social platforms like Instagram can help predict the success of fashion models in the offline world. In the second project, I will illustrate how digital traces of human behaviors exhibited across various platforms, including online games and discussion fora, ties to performance, success, and cognitive limits and biases of human behavior.


Dr. Emilio Ferrara is Research Assistant Professor at the University of Southern California, Research Leader at the USC Information Sciences Institute, and Co-Director of the Machine Intelligence and Data Science (MINDS) center at USC. His research interests include modeling human behavior and performance in techno-social systems and characterizing information diffusion in online social networks. He was named 2015 IBM Watson Big Data Influencer, he is the recipient of the 2016 Complex System Society Junior Scientific Award, and he received the 2016 DARPA Young Faculty Award. Before joining USC in 2015, he was research faculty in the School of Informatics and Computing of Indiana University (2012-2015). Ferrara has published over 80 articles on social networks, machine learning, and network science. His research is published in venues like the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Communications of the ACM, and Physical Review Letters, and is regularly discussed in the mainstream media. He is Principal Investigators of projects funded by DARPA, IARPA, Air Force, and the Office of Naval Research.