ICES Distinguished Lecturer: Jon Kleinberg/Cornell University: "Information Flow and Anonymization in Social Networks" ACES 2.302, Thursday, February 19, 2009 3:30 p.m.

Contact Name: 
Jenna Whitney
Feb 19, 2009 3:30pm - 5:00pm

There is a sign up schedule for this event:


 Type of Talk: 

ICES Distinguished Lecturer

Speaker/Affiliation:  Jon Kleinberg

/Cornell University

Date/Time:  Thursday, February 19, 2009&n

bsp; 3:30 p.m.

Location:  ACES 2.302

Talk Title: 

"Information Flow and Anonymization in Social Networks"


alk Abstract:

The growth of on-line information systems supporting ri

ch forms of social interaction has made it possible to study social network
data at unprecedented levels of scale and temporal resolution.  This
offers an opportunity to address questions at the interface between comput

ing and the social sciences, where mathematical models and algorithmic sty

les of thinking can help in formulating models of social processes and in m

anaging complex networks as datasets.

We consider two lines of r

esearch within this general theme.  The first is concerned with model

ing the flow of information through a large network: the spread of new idea

s, technologies, opinions, fads, and rumors can be viewed as unfolding

with the dynamics of epidemic, cascading from one individual to another th

rough the network.  This suggests a basis for models of such phenomen

a, as well as new kinds of open questions.

The second line of r

esearch we consider is concerned with the privacy implications of large net

work datasets.  An increasing amount of social network research focus

es on datasets obtained by measuring the interactions among individuals who
have strong expectations of privacy.  To preserve privacy in such in

stances, the datasets are typically anonymized -- the names are replaced w

ith meaningless unique identifiers, so that the network structure is maint

ained while private information has been suppressed.  Unfortunately,
there are fundamental limitations on the power of network anonymization to
preserve privacy; we will discuss some of these limitations and some of t

heir broader implications.

This talk is based on joint work with
Lars Backstrom, Cynthia Dwork, and David Liben-Nowell.

Speaker Bi


Jon Kleinberg is a professor of computer science at Cornell Univer

sity. His research focuses on issues at the interface of networks and infor

mation, with an emphasis on the social and information networks that under

pin the Web and other online media. His work has been supported by an NSF C

areer Award, an ONR Young Investigator Award, a MacArthur Foundation Fell

owship, a Packard Foundation Fellowship, a Sloan Foundation Fellowship,

as well as grants from Google, Yahoo!, and the NSF. Professor Kelinberg i

s a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the American Academy

of Arts and Sciences.