Extracting Emerging Knowledge from Social Media

Today I presented our full paper titled “Extracting Emerging Knowledge from Social Media” at the WWW 2017 conference.

The work is based on a rather obvious assumption, i.e., that knowledge in the world continuously evolves, and ontologies are largely incomplete for what concerns low-frequency data, belonging to the so-called long tail.

Socially produced content is an excellent source for discovering emerging knowledge: it is huge, and immediately reflects the relevant changes which hide emerging entities.

In the paper we propose a method and a tool for discovering emerging entities by extracting them from social media.

Once instrumented by experts through very simple initialization, the method is capable of finding emerging entities; we propose a mixed syntactic + semantic method. The method uses seeds, i.e. prototypes of emerging entities provided by experts, for generating candidates; then, it associates candidates to feature vectors, built by using terms occurring in their social content, and then ranks the candidates by using their distance from the centroid of seeds, returning the top candidates as result.

The method can be continuously or periodically iterated, using the results as new seeds.

The PDF of the full paper presented at WWW 2017 is available online (open access with Creative Common license).

You can also check out the slides of my presentation on Slideshare.

A version of the tool is available online for free use, thanks also to our partners Dandelion API and Microsoft Azure. The most recent version of the tool is available on GitHub here.

Social Informatics workshop: Social networking at work with human factors and technical platforms in mind

Today I’m attending an extremely interesting workshop on Social Informatics at University of Trento. The workshop gathers a diverse audience spanning from computer science to cognitive science and health.
The program of the day included the following presentations:

Supporting Social Interactions for Older Adults. Cristhian Parra, University of Trento, Italy
This talk focused on ways for encouraging social sharing and interactions between elders, and on which could be the fields where elders could provide and get higher benefits in online socialization.

Active Lifestyle applications and motivation instruments. Patricia Silveira, University of Trento, Italy
This talk discussed the role of serious games in preserving elders physical and mental functions and health.

Towards a crowdsourcing platform for elders. Pavel Kucherbaev, University of Trento, Italy. Neocogita S.r.l. – UNITN Spin-off in Cognitive Training. Nicola De Pisapia, University of Trento, Italy
This talk focused on understanding which are the cognitive capabilities that need to be continuously trained and maintained, also through games.
 Experience sharing: LiquidGalleries and ComeAlong. Beatrice Valeri, University of Trento, Italy
This talk presented two interesting experiences of sharing: LiquidGalleries is a flexible and social mobile app that allows a personalized and delocalized experience when visiting art exhibitions and museums. People can tag preferred art pieces in advance, get content on the fly, or tag pieces while visiting and sharing them or reading about them later at home.

Knowledge Spaces: Supporting Knowledge and Experience Sharing. Marcos Baez, University of Trento, Italy
This talk presented a set of methodological guidelines for defining experience sharing applications and showed them at work within the scenario of scientific publication sharing.

Sensing social interactions through smart phones. Aleksandar Matic, University of Trento and Create-net, Italy
This talk presented some techniques for detecting social activities in real world considering physical proximity, based on smart phone technologies (as opposed to dedicated hw used in other projects).

Civic Media Platforms. Maurizio Teli and Stefano De Paoli, ahref Foundation (Trento), Italy
The talk focused on platforms that aim at increasing the citizen participation to a common good target in local or government communities or activities, including also citizen journalism. The addressed problem is how to build a social community in this scenario, considering also possible biases (political or social) added. An example is the Timu platfom, focusing on storytelling.

BPM4Crowd.  Stefano Tranquilini, University of Trento, ItalyThis presentation suggests some basic technical support to the development of social applications. The idea is to provide a high-level abstraction access to the developer, so as to ease the development of applications. This is demonstrated with an online dating application implemented within a social network.
Convergence of social networking, search and business processes. Marco Brambilla, Politecnico di Milano, Italy
This was my talk and included an overview on Social BPM and CrowdSearch. I will post some slides very soon.

 Recommending content for basic and high education. Rosa Alarcon, Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile, Chile
This talk was about understanding the information overload in the educational market.
Existing content repositories for elearning are not sufficient. The standard ways for describing them (e.g., SCORM) are quite poor too.
They try to apply recommendation techniques for teachers and they end up with some initial results, including the fact that surprisingly teachers should not be clustered based on their specialization.

Interactive Experiences for supporting elderly or impaired young people. Paolo Massa, FBK, I3, Italy
This talk was about a few experiences on  applying technological tools for facilitating tasks and socialization of autistic boys and people with mental disorders.
Other activities are about biases in translation and editing on the web, especially on public sites like wikipedia (e.g., see http://manypedia.com or the wikitrip project), considering gender and political problems.

Credibility evaluation of Web content. Adam Wierzbicki, Polish-Japanese Institute of Information Technology, Poland
This speech presented an interesting corpus of Web credibility assessment. The assessment is done by asking people to assess credibility and cleanness of pages.
Game theory has been used also for classifying credibility. This research is a joint work with some Swiss institutes, including EPFL.
The talk also addressed the roles of wikipedia. It’s not just an encyclopedia, its a knowledge community, a collaborative innovation network, a community of prosumers, a model for the knowledge economy. But information about it is limited and social behaviours are critical (the environment is getting more and more unpleasant and closed). Overall, it cannot be defined a social centric platform.
Finally, the speech focused on serious social games for elders to motivate social interaction. A good paradigm is gaming based on gossiping because it grants trust, social norms, and ties.

Other speeches I could not attend included:

  • Cheating in online games / trust and reputation. Stefano De Paoli, ahref Foundation (Trento), Italy
  • Reseval Mash. Muhammad Imran, University of Trento, Italy
  • Social Processes over Social Networks. Juan Jose Jara, University of Trento, Italy
  • Discovery of composition knowledge for mashup development, process mining and BPM (BI). Carlos Rodriguez, University of Trento, Italy
  • Social Search and recommendation engine for scientific publications. Daniil Mirilenka, University of Trento, Italy
  • Overview of DALi project. Christopher Raphael Wilkinson, University of Trento, Italy

This was a great and multi-disciplinary experience, very well in line with our research project Search Computing, Cubrik, and BPM4People.

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

The rising sun of Social BPM – upcoming TweetJam

Despite (or maybe because of) the vast discussion on whether this is just a buzzword, a lipstick on a pig, or even a bad practice for BPM, I have to say that I see a continuously rising attention on Social BPM.

This is demonstrated by a huge amount of posts by prominent BPM practitioners (see also the most recent one by Jim Sinur of Gartner), presentations at events (see for instance Alec Sharp‘s speech at BPM Europe, Keith Swenston’s and Bill Johnston’s at the Social BPM Forum, and many others), specific scientific events on the topic (e.g., the BPMS2 workshop at the BPM conference), and even research project focusing on it (such as the yet-to-start BPM4People project funded by the EU Commission).

Several vendors integrate some kind of social BPM practices in their tools now (Appian, IBM BlueWorks Live, and so on).
However, I was quite surprised when I got an invitation to join the Tweet Jam on Social BPM promoted by WfMC and Future Strategies publisher.
If you want to join, the discussion is scheduled for June 21, 2011 @ 11.45-12.45 EDT and will be moderated by Clay Richardson from Forrester Research.
The discussion will be on the challenges facing business and IT practitioners in understanding work, planning and collaboration under the impact of Social Technology.
We still have to see whether this rising sun will bring light to the BPM field, or if it will fail in its objectives. My 2 cents: people still need to understand which are those objectives.
But my bet is that Social BPM has some power and can avoid BPM “To wear that ball and chain” forever. 

To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

A Model-driven Approach to Social BPM Applications

Together with Piero Fraternali and Carmen Vaca Ruiz I’ve recently written a chapter published within the Social BPM Handbook.

The book is published by Future Strategies in association with the Workflow Management Coalition (WfMC) in the BPM and Workflow Handbook Series and will be launched at Social Business Forum 2011 on June 8, 2011 in Milan, Italy (if you want to meet us, we will be there). The book will be on display also in the WebRatio booth at BPM Europe in London, from June 8 to June 10 (WebRatio is sponsoring the event).
The details on the book are available online, including the complete Introduction containing full Table of Contents and Abstracts of each chapter. The book is a valuable resource in the field and gathers the contributions of several experts including Clay Richardson, Keith Swenson, Nathaniel Palmer, Sandy Kemsley, Max J. Pucher (see the post on his chapter), Keith Harrison-Broninski, and many others (most of them are also listed in my Prominent BPM Bloggers post).

The title of our chapter is: A Model-driven Approach to Social BPM Applications.
It addresses the design and development of BPM solutions that encompass communication with social tools, open-ended communities of performers, and allocation and execution of tasks to actors not known at process design time, through interactions with social network platforms. The core of the proposed approach is threefold:
  • At the methodological level, providing a framework for understanding the ways to incorporate social interactions in business processes.
  • At the notational level, verifying the capacity of a mainstream process modeling language (BPMN 2.0) to express social interactions and cover Social BPM requirements.
  • At the technical level, exploiting model-driven software engineering techniques to produce applications enacting the social process directly from the (extended) BPMN process schema.
The main contributions of the chapter can be summarized as follows:
  • A classification of Social BPM adoption levels.
  • An extension of BPMN enabling social activities, events and conditional process flows.
  • An extension of the WebML (Web Modeling Language) for expressing Web applications interacting with social platforms, through abstract operations represented as components and design patterns.
  • A technical framework for generating Social BPM applications directly from specifications encoded in the social extension of BPMN 2.0, based on model transformations and on a runtime architecture integrating business process execution and social task enactment, implemented in a commercial tool suite called WebRatio BPM.

    If you want to know more, you can contact me or buy the book directly online. To keep updated on my activities you can subscribe to the RSS feed of my blog or follow my twitter account (@MarcoBrambi).

    My today’s BPM responses

    BPM Product development (Adam Deane Blog, Nov. 10, 2010)

    thanks for sharing this. Extremely valuable resource indeed.
    Let me point you also to another source of knowledge for the BPM field I recently discovered: the Slideshare group managed by Sandy Kemsley, :

    Want value from social? Add structure (Tom Davenport blog, Harvard Business School)

    Social aspects and structure really complement each other.
    For instance, we combine them using an MDE (model driven engineering) approach in which several models contribute to the definition of the enterprise behaviour (and of the supporting web software). These models are strictly connected through mappings and transformations, thus reducing the implementation efforts and increasing the willingness to change (based also on social feedbacks).
    Basic ideas summarized here:

    Making the ‘long tail’ of business processes social (On IT-business alignment and related things , blog by Neil Ward-Dutton)
    Neil, this is a very interesting analysis of a class of applications that is often overlooked.
    Let me point you to another solution we are developing for covering (also) this.
    We are proposing a combination of MDD and BPM techniques that help designers and analysts to collaborate together when building the applications. We provide one click prototyping from BPMN models, and also a plethora of additional models one can exploit for refining the application behaviour and thus obtain the final application to be deployed and put in production.
    Being a lightweight approach, it can easily address the requirements of the class of applications you describe (although it can also cover huge, distributed and complex enterprise processes, as demonstrated by our experience in the banking field).
    Our proposal started as a research project (and research is still a significant contributor) and is now consolidated in an industrial product. The BPM edition was launched last September.
    You can find an overview of the approach here:
    Some experience report in our presentations at BPM 2010 (Hoboken, NJ):
    And how we address the BPM challenges and trends:
    Finally, more details are available on the product web site: http://www.webratio.com
    Feedbacks are welcome.

    Web 2.0 Pattern Mining Workshop – 2008

    While at TOOLS Europe 2008 (Zurich, July 2008), I happened to participate to the Web 2.0 Pattern Mining Workshop.
    This turned out to be one of the most interesting discussions of the conference. Some of the people that participated are listed here (together with some materials). Interesting follow-ups are expected.