Professors Help U.S. Army With Social Media Networks Research

By Molly Johnson for Indiana Daily Student:

IU statistics professor Stanley Wasserman points at the map of the “Celebrity Twitter Ecosystem” from the New York Times that he has tacked to his bulletin board. “Networks are hot,” he says.

Social networks, such as Facebook and Twitter, have pervaded almost every aspect of our society –they help us make friends, get jobs, and now, thanks to a new military effort, they could help us catch terrorists.

The project, sponsored by the U.S. Army, will urge researchers, including two professors at IU, to come up with new ways to analyze data surrounding networks. The project is designed to aid military operations, including anti-terrorism efforts, and to explain how knowledge is spread between peers in the modern military, according to the IU press release.

“They want to be able to understand networks better, all kinds of networks,” said Wasserman, one of the IU professors on the team. “To understand how people interact and how individuals are connected.”

The Army Research Laboratory Project is a $35.5 million collaboration that involves researchers from 10 different universities and organizations nationwide and will span 10 years, according to the same release…