MIT – Predicting what topics will trend on Twitter

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 2, 2012

Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office: “At the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Information and Decision in Social Networks at MIT in November, Associate Professor Devavrat Shah and his student Stanislav Nikolov will present a new algorithm that can, with 95 percent accuracy, predict which topics will trend an average of an hour and a half before Twitter’s algorithm puts them on the list — and sometimes as much as four or five hours before. The algorithm could be of great interest to Twitter, which could charge a premium for ads linked to popular topics, but it also represents a new approach to statistical analysis that could, in theory, apply to any quantity that varies over time: the duration of a bus ride, ticket sales for films, maybe even stock prices.”

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