Masdar project to measure happiness with social media content wins praise
ABU DHABI // A computer project that investigates the link between social media communication in different areas and “happiness” levels at those locations has made the final shortlist of an international competition.
A team from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is one of 10 finalists from more than 650 entries for the Telecom Italia Big Data Challenge and Trentino Open Data Challenge 2014.
Their project “Misery Loves Company: Twitter Sentiment Reveals Assortative Mixing of Aggregate Happiness in Urban Communication Networks” impressed judges with its innovation.
“Being among the 10 finalists out of 652 teams in an open international challenge means we were in the top 1.5 per cent,” said Iyad Rahwan, associate professor for Computing and Information Science, who led the team.
“This victory is a testimony to the fact that Masdar Institute is now among the leading research universities in the world in the analysis of big data.”
The project measured happiness levels by looking at social media content.
The study found that “unhappy” cells attract a disproportionately larger number of communications compared to “happy” cells with communication playing an important role within each cell.
These results could help to improve understanding of the relationship between social structure and urban psychological well-being.
This in turn has consequences in productivity, innovation, and crime and for how policies should be designed.
The Masdar Institute project was presented in Italy by Aamena Alshamsi, a UAE national PhD student, who is part of a team from the Social Computing and Artificial Intelligence Lab.
“Some members of the committee showed genuine interest in our project and encouraged us,” said Ms Alshamsi.
“Many, including some of the organisers and members of the committee, found our project very interesting.”
Other team members include Maryam Almehrezi, Edmond Awad, Vahan Babushkin, Pai-Ju Chang, Zakariyah A Shoroye and Attila Peter Toth.
The finalists were selected by a committee of respected academics and researchers.
The Masdar Institute entry was also among the six finalists in the “data analytics” category.