AAAI Publications, Twenty-Fourth AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence

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The Genetic Algorithm as a General Diffusion Model for Social Networks
Mayank Lahiri, Manuel Cebrian

Last modified: 2010-07-03


Diffusion processes taking place in social networks are used to model a number of phenomena, such as the spread of human or computer viruses, and the adoption of products in viral marketing campaigns. It is generally difficult to obtain accurate information about how such spreads actually occur, so a variety of stochastic diffusion models are used to simulate spreading processes in networks instead. We show that a canonical genetic algorithm with a spatially distributed population, when paired with specific forms of Holland's synthetic hyperplane-defined objective functions, can simulate a large and rich class of diffusion models for social networks. These include standard diffusion models, such as the Independent Cascade and Competing Processes models. In addition, our Genetic Algorithm Diffusion Model (GADM) can also model complex phenomena such as information diffusion. We demonstrate an application of the GADM to modeling information flow in a large, dynamic social network derived from e-mail headers.

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