Dr. William Rand presents "A Discussion on the Diffusion of Information in Social Networks”

COLLEGE PARK, MD., - June 8, 2011 -Research Director Dr. William Rand of the Center for Complexity in Business at the University of Maryland discussed questions of information diffusion and how to answer them through social media and agent-based modeling on  Wednesday, June 1, at Optimal Solution Group, LLC's (Optimal's) Brown Bag event. Dr. Rand posed such questions as where do fads come from, why are urban myths popular, and how do we know which of our friends will tell us about the next must-have gadget? He also postulated that through the combined use of agent- based modeling, social network analysis and machine learning, one can study in-depth how information diffusion works within social media and how it can be used to strategically market within it.

Dr. Rand further discussed the exact process of how to study information diffusion. He began with a “traditional empirical analysis of diffusion utilizing social network analysis” that utilizes an agent-based approach, followed by a discussion about techniques to present and apply the information gathered from the study.

Dr. Rand is currently part of the Marketing Department at Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. He joined the University in 2008. His research focuses include the use of computational modeling techniques like agent-based modeling, geographic information systems, social network analysis, and machine learning to help understand and analyze complex systems like the diffusion of innovation, organizational learning, and economic markets.   

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Optimal Solutions Group, LLC

Founded in 2000, Optimal Solutions Group, LLC is a nonpartisan public policy research and technical assistance firm that stands out through its quantitative expertise and innovative approaches to provide rigorous, data-driven research and technical assistance to government agencies, corporations, nonprofit organizations, and philanthropic foundations. Located at the University of Maryland’s M Square Research Park in College Park, Optimal is a leader in driving real-time public policy research. Optimal has 60+ employees including multidisciplinary researchers with backgrounds in business, communication, economics, education, health policy, psychology, public policy, sociology, statistics, and urban planning. Optimal has four research centers: Health, Education, Housing, and Workforce Development and Social Policy.

University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business

The Robert H. Smith School of Business is a school of business management within the University of Maryland, College Park. The school was named after alumnus Robert H. Smith (Accounting 1950). One of 13 colleges and schools at the university's main campus, the Smith School offers programs at both the graduate and undergraduate levels, including bachelor's degrees, full-time and part-time Master of Business Administration (MBA) degrees, MS degrees, Executive MBA degrees, Ph.D.s, and executive education outreach programs to the corporate community. Undergraduate degrees are offered in accounting, finance, information systems, international business, logistics, transportation & supply chain management, marketing, general business and operations management. The University of Maryland's Smith School of Business is accredited by AACSB International - The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the premier accrediting agency for bachelor's, masters and doctoral degree programs in business administration and accounting. G. "Anand" Anandalingam was named dean of the Smith School in July 2008.