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Understanding our online social networks: information flows and other pairwise relationships online

24 October 2022 @ 13:00 14:00

Location: Monica Partridge Building C10

SIAM & IMA Student Chapter External Speaker Seminar: Bridget Smart

The SIAM & IMA Student Chapter are happy to host Bridget Smart, University of Adelaide, for a seminar talk Monday 24th October from 13:00 to 14:00. The talk will be held in person in C10, Monica Partridge Building.


Social media is a platform for people to share ideas, create change and build strong and meaningful connections with others. The role that social media plays in shaping our world view is not yet fully understood, but its effects have been felt in areas ranging from politics to public health.
I will give an overview of my own research, where I aim to understand how what we see online shapes our actions and opinions, to better understand phenomena including echo chambers, fake news and disinformation campaigns using information flows and measuring similarity between point processes. To provide context, I will present a case study from a recent paper, #IStandWithPutin versus #IStandWithUkraine: The interaction of bots and humans in discussion of the Russia/Ukraine war. I will discussion how using a variety of techniques including information theoretic measures, sentiment and linguistic analysis, and time series techniques we can understand how bot activity influences wider online discourse. I will also provide an overview of the work of my broader group, which encompasses NLP, Bayesian epidemic modelling and linguistic analysis of text data.


A current M.Phil student in Applied Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Adelaide, I am currently working to better model and understand our online social networks. My background is in applied mathematics and statistics and I have worked on a broad range of projects during my M.Phil. I’m passionate about using mathematics to enable stronger understandings of complex systems and communicating my work with decision makers.