Dr. Lease Receives Amazon Research Grant

Assistant Professor Matt Lease has been awarded an Amazon Web Services grant to support his ongoing research to discover patterns of information flow and alteration across the Web.

While technological advances have enabled massive information sharing at global scale, relatively little technology has been developed for coping with this information onslaught. Professor Lease's research applies large-scale distributed computation to analyze the massive volume of information that is continually being published on the Web. In particular, content such as news articles, blogs, and user comments are decomposed into atomic text snippets which each convey a single idea or concept. Such decomposition is crucial because it reveals regular patterns in how information flows and is altered on the Web in the natural course of human communication. Once born, snippets rapidly spread and exhibit evolutionary mutation as they are iteratively borrowed and altered across information providers, re-distributors, and consumers. Moreover, decomposing content into such snippets allows people to more accurately interpret new information in the context of its evolutionary history by revealing the originating source(s), showing progressive mutation, and identifying individuals and communities involved in its production, distribution, alteration, and consumption.

Statistical analysis of such massive information requires significant computing resources, and the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) platform provides an ideal infrastructure for performing this research. Amazon has been a global leader in developing massive cloud computing infrastructure to both meet industrial needs and enable new and innovative research, and generous support from Amazon for academic research such as Lease's has been invaluable in facilitating new discoveries by the scientific community at large.

Posted: 03/23/2010

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