School of Information Sciences

Prestigious Young Investigator Award won by SIS' Kostas Pelechrinis


The School of Information Sciences (SIS) congratulates Assistant Professor Kostas Pelechrinis, who was recently awarded the prestigious Young Investigator Award from the Army Research Office for his project “Models and Metrics for Socio-Spatial Composite Networks.”

The project will explore the use of tensor theory to represent and analyze composite network structures that involve multiple types of nodes, edges, and/or time evolution. It aims to develop methods that will enable the analysis of heterogeneous networks. “Currently we have a good understanding of and tools for the analysis of homogenous networks, that is, networks that describe a single type of relationship between a single type of entity,” said Pelechrinis. “However, in the era of big data, more complex structures appear that involve more than one type of entity and more than one type of relationship.”

Heterogeneous networks can include people, locations, and companies all interacting on various levels. These types of relationships and connections do not currently have proven methods for analyzing all of the information within them together. Most researchers will chose to focus on just one part of the network, thus contributing to information loss. Pelechrinis’ hope is that this project and work will help create the foundations of a working methodology for analyzing these composite networks.

“Our goal is not to solve all the problems in the space – this would also be rather unrealistic,” said Pelechrinis. “We hope that we will stimulate further research in the area, which will lead to faster development of the required methods.” Having such a tool can be beneficial to researchers in a variety of fields, as heterogeneous networks appear in many different settings. “Even though networks in different context might require specialized methods or metrics, we hope that we will be able to provide a basic set of tools for the analysis of heterogeneous networks regardless of the domain and provide insights for developing specialized methods when needed,” commented Pelechrinis.

Pelechrinis became interested in pursuing this research after working on a different project that involved the analysis of social and spatial information in social media. He discovered that there was a gap in the literature concerning heterogeneous networks. Coupled with his general interest in networks, this need inspired Pelechrinis to take on this work.

The award is in the form of a one-year grant that will be used to support Pelechrinis’ proposed project. The Young Investor Award is awarded to assistant professors only and, “seeks to identify and support academic scientists who show exceptional promise for doing creative research.” Pelechrinis’ research interests include network science, social computing, and in particular, location based social networks (LBSNs) and urban informatics. In the past he has been involved in research in computer networking and wireless and mobile networks. Pelechrinis is extremely interested in the design and implementation of practical systems based on analytical frameworks.

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