Archive for May, 2009

The importance of *being stupid*

Tuesday, May 26th, 2009

Some nice thoughts about scientific research:

The importance of stupidity in scientific research

Enjoy!

In Bio We Trust ’09

Friday, May 22nd, 2009

This CFP (txt, website) is a great opportunity to bring two research communities together – people in trust management, and people who build systems inspired by biological models. Pls think about submitting a paper by July 15th!

8 friends are enough

Wednesday, May 20th, 2009

New article by Ross Anderson’s group. It’s beautiful in its simplicity. “Eight Friends are Enough: Social Graph Approximation via Public Listings shows how easy it is for an outsider to work out the structure of friendships on Facebook. (For more, see our blog on Facebook’s technical privacy and its democracy theatre.) ”

In short: Having

  • G: undirected graph (e.g., Facebook social net)
  • Gk: publicly available portion of G (one in which k outgoing friendship edges have been randomly chosen from G),

they show that the results of applying a certain function f (e.g., centrality, shortest paths, community structure) on Gk are simlar to those of  applying f on the entire G! That is, by using the public view (Gk), one is able to infer node centralities, shortest paths, and community structures of the whole G! Scary result for privacy-conscius people! But good news for researchers who need to handle big networks ;-) On the scary side, from a partial (public) view of a social network, one is able to guess

  • which nodes are central – e.g., 1) marketing companies are able to  identify influential individuals and virally spread products through them; or 2) during protests that are self-orginized via text messages, repressive governments are able to identify influential individuals and intercept  their text traffic.
  • communities – the authors “were ableto divide the [partial] graph into communities nearly as well as using complete graph knowledge.” (Sect 3.5)

UCL MobiSys member to be one of the 2009 Anita Borg Scholars

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

Congrats to Elisa who has been selected as one of the 2009 Anita Borg Scholars!

Wireless music-sharing

Monday, May 11th, 2009

Instead of sharing music in front of a computer, what if you could simply share songs, directly from your MP3 player, with friends and other people you encounter in your everyday life? Maria’s research answers this question:  mainstream article & research pdf

Yahoo Datasets (Webscope)

Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

Yahoo has recently made publicly available a  huge catalog of datasets (data on ratings, language, graphs, and advertising)