Social media has become a popular data source as a surrogate for monitoring and detecting events. Analyzing social media (e.g., tweets) to reveal event information requires sophisticated techniques. Tweets are written in unstructured language and often contain typos, non-standard acronyms, and spam. In addition to the textual content, Twitter data form a heterogeneous information network where users, tweets, and hashtags have mutual relationships. These features pose technical challenges for designing event detection and forecasting methods. In this talk, I will present the design and implementation of EMBERS, a fully automated 24x7 forecasting system for significant societal events using open source data including tweets, blog posts, and news articles. I will describe the system architecture of EMBERS, individual models that leverage specific data sources, and a fusion engine that supports trading off specific evaluation criteria. I will also demonstrate the superiority of EMBERS over base rate methods and its capability to forecast significant societal happenings.
Chang-Tien Lu is a Professor of Computer Science and Associate Director of the Discovery Analytics Center at Virginia Tech. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. He served as Program Chair of the 18th IEEE International Conference on Tools with Artificial Intelligence in 2006 and General Chair of the 17th ACM SIGSPATIAL International Conference on Advances in Geographic Information Systems in 2009. He is serving as General Chair of the 2017 International Symposium on Spatial and Temporal Databases in Washington D.C. He also served as Secretary (2008-2011) and Vice Chair (2011-2014) of the ACM Special Interest Group on Spatial Information (ACM SIGSPATIAL). His research interests include spatial databases, data mining, urban computing, and intelligent transportation systems. He has published over 120 articles in top rated journals and conference proceedings. His research has been supported by the NSF, NIH, DoD, IARPA, VDOT, and DCDOT. He is an ACM Distinguished Scientist and Virginia Tech College of Engineering faculty fellow.