Data mining Twitter “tweets” may produce a gold mine for two University of Cincinnati computer science students.
William Clifton and Alex Padgett have developed a web-based application called The Tweetographer that allows users to learn about events in their cities or neighborhoods. The app works by collecting tweets sent by large numbers of Twitter users and extracting information about events – parties, concerts, games, etc. – happening nearby. It’s like a real-time events guide.
The Tweetographer was the senior project for the pair, who are graduating during the 2011-12 academic year, Padgett in December and Clifton in June.
“We wanted to explore data mining, which is an important area of research in Computer Science, in the context of social media,” Padgett said. “Although the concept will work with many social media platforms, Twitter was the most accessible. Everything is out there in public domain, a giant pool of untapped data, tagged with latitude and longitude. It’s very precise and lends itself to so many uses.”
That broad utility created some difficulty for the developers as they tried to formulate a focused project.
“We realized that we could do all sorts of things with this data. We could add all sorts of functions, but we worked really hard to avoid ‘feature creep’ and decided to focus on events,” Clifton said.
The Tweetographer, in practice, answers a common question for socially active people: “What’s happening?” Since people who use Twitter often tweet about where they are going or what they want to do, The Tweetographer answers that question by listening in to the chatter. A user can get a sense of not only what is going on, but how popular various events are.
The application is so effective that it was initially overwhelmed the volume of data streaming in through millions of tweets in some large cities.
“Eventually we were able to come up with a solution for this with a kind of queuing system that let us handle a stream of that magnitude,” Clifton said.
Another obstacle was making sense of all the available data. Although Twitter offers upwards of 140 million tweets a day, they are not posted in a uniform format.
“So many people type in their own shorthand,” Padgett said.
The solution, according to Clifton, was to create a “thesaurus” of multiple Twitter synonyms.
“Do you know how many ways people type ‘Tuesday’?” Clifton said.
All of the technical obstacles needed to be overcome on a tight deadline – just six months from assignment to presentation.
“If we had a couple of years, we could come up with something a lot more sophisticated,” Padgett said. “Everyone is their own worst critic, and we had very high standards. We wanted to show an elegant, simple solution.”
The Tweetographer got an enthusiastic reception at its unveiling.
“It blew people’s minds,” Clifton said. “One skeptic, in particular, wanted to test us. He said, ‘If I tweet right now, it will show up,’ and we said yes. He tweeted, and it popped up onscreen right away.”
The future of The Tweetographer is yet to be written. Padgett and Clifton are making plans beyond graduation, yet still actively working on improving and evolving this project. Clifton thinks the “engine” developed for The Tweetographer has other useful applications, such as predicting election outcomes, or compiling product reviews.
“So much is out there,” Clifton said.
Greg Hand | EurekAlert!
Between filter bubbles, uneven visibility and transnationality
06.12.2017 | Schweizerischer Nationalfonds SNF
New Technologies for A/V Analysis and Search
13.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Digitale Medientechnologie IDMT
On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.
We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...
What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...
For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.
Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...
At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.
No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...
Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.
Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...
08.01.2018 | Event News
11.12.2017 | Event News
08.12.2017 | Event News
19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences
19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine
19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy