The Power of Meta-Networks for Rapid Ethnographic Assessment

February 27.02.2014, 16:30, room A-11


Professor Kathleen Carley, Carnegie Mellon University
Each of us is embedded in and understands the world through networks.  These networks, such as the social network, the knowledge network, the capabilities network constrain and enable behavior. This set of complex, evolving, multi-mode, multi-link networks form a complex socio-technical system that can be documented and analyzed using meta-networks. Meta-Networks are high dimensional interlinked multi-mode and multi-link networks that can vary by time and space. They can be rapidly extracted from media data such as on-line news and social media e.g., Twitter. When this is done, the resultant meta-networks can be assessed using network and visual analytics.  These analyses provide key insights into the underlying complex socio-technical system, insight into the evolving cultures and enable a rapid ethnographic assessment of a region. Key advances in big data analytics and visualization coupled with modern text-analytics make such analyses possible. This process of data extraction and analysis is described.  Then results are presented for two cases - the Benghazi Consulate Attack in September 2012 and the current state of Myanmar in 2013.  These studies provide insight into the strengths and limitations of using media data to understand the underlying socio-cultural world from a dynamic network perspective.
About the Speaker
Kathleen M. Carley is a Professor of Computation, Organizations and Society at Carnegie Mellon University and the director of the Center for Computational Analysis of Social and Organizational Systems (CASOS), a university wide interdisciplinary center that brings together network analysis, computer science and organization science ( and has an associated NSF funded training program for Ph.D. students. Kathleen M. Carley's research combines cognitive science, social networks and computer science to address complex social and organizational problems. Her specific research areas are dynamic network analysis, computational social and organization theory, adaptation and evolution, text mining, and the impact of new technologies and policies on communication, information diffusion, disease contagion and response within and among groups particularly in disaster or crisis situations. She and members of her center have developed infrastructure tools for extracting, analyzing and visualizing large scale high dimensional dynamic networks and various multi-agent simulation systems. The core tools are AutoMap, ORA, and Construct.  Dr. Carley is the founding editor of the journal Computational Organization Theory and has co-edited several books in the computational organizations and dynamic network area. Additional information on Professor Carley may be found here: