Program traces the origin of rumors, crimes and epidemics

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Tracker rumors

If you’ve been bothered with gossip and rumors about the Internet, do not worry: there is a way to track and identify the defamer.But the program created by scientists at the Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne, Switzerland, will have other uses of more general interest.

“Using our method, we can find the source of all kinds of things circulating on a network simply ‘hearing’ a limited number of members of that network,” explained Dr. Peter Pinto, founder of the algorithm.Suppose you aware of a rumor about him that has spread through a social networking site, which has already been sent to 500 people, including friends, and friends of friends, and so forth.

How to find the person who started the rumor?

“Looking at the messages received by only 15% of your friends, and taking into account the time factor, our algorithm can trace the original route of the information and get to the source of the rumor,” assures the researcher.

Tracking epidemics

In addition to rumors, the program may be used to track criminal messages, spam, viruses spread through messages and even epidemics of infectious diseases.

This is possible because the software analyzes information circulating through networks, but not necessarily computer networks.

For example, researchers evaluated their algorithm in the case of a cholera epidemic, which spread through water treatment system in South Africa

“Modeling the distribution networks for water, stormwater networks, transport networks and human, we were able to find the point where it appeared the first cases of infection, and monitoring only a small fraction of the villages,” says Dr. Peter .

Program traces the origin of rumors, crimes and epidemics

The program was used to track a cholera epidemic in Africa, using data from a small fraction of the affected villages. 

Viral marketing

While all tests have been made retrospectively , ie after the information was disseminated by the network, the researcher believes that his technique can also be used preventatively.“By carefully selecting points on the network to monitor, we can quickly detect the spread of an epidemic,” he estimates.

The program can also become a valuable tool for advertisers who are viral marketing campaigns on the Internet.

For example, the tool can be used to identify the most influential blogs in each audience, helping to understand how the issues and articles spread quickly through the online community.

And this tactic can be replicated to try to spread the messages with advertisements directed.

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