• Experiences,  Students,  Uncategorized

    The Great Precog Expedition

    It all began with searching for opportunities to work in the summer of 2016. I had heard endlessly about the work culture at IIIT Delhi, the research groups and the out of this world faculty. After researching through the site, I stumbled upon Professor PK’s profile. As I read further about him, I was awestruck and amongst the many who would want to work with PK. My first meeting with him lasted for roughly 15 minutes but I went back home with a bag full of riveting information about what it takes to be a Precog-er. This was also the first time I got to know about Randy Pausch. At…

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    Preventing KillFie: A crowdsourced approach

    Selfies have become a prominent medium for self-portrayal on social media. Certain social media users go to extreme lengths to click dangerous selfies, which puts their lives at risk. A hundred and twenty seven individuals have died since March 2014 until December 2016 while trying to click selfies out of which 76 deaths were from India alone. This disturbing trend can be traced to users taking selfies in “dangerous” locations which in turn can be linked to the concept of self representation on online social media. A user will be perceived more bold and adventurous if he posts from a cliff top or in front of a moving train. Such…

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  • Experiences,  Students,  Uncategorized

    I have been Precog-ed (for life): Part 4

    Holà! It’s the first day of 2017. All of us just got done with looking back at the past year, trying to fathom how time flies and life metamorphosizes. My life has taken a leap too and this is my last blog as a part of the ‘I have been Precog-ed’ series. Earlier, I have written about my first stint at research (Part 1), a wonderful summer at the Information Sciences Institute at Marina Delray, Los Angeles (Part 2), my first paper presentation at ICWSM 2016 in Germany (Part 3), and my time at Precog. This post is about the last 6 months of my journey and an attempt to…

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    There’s misinformation on Facebook. Here’s how you deal with it.

    I’ll keep this short and to the point. There’s a sudden backlash on Facebook for hosting misinformation [1], and polar politics [2] after the recent elections in the USA. Is this new? NO. Let me take you to back in time, to March 2014. The deeply tragic incident of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 wiped off an entire aircraft and all on board [3]. A sea of prayers and solidarity followed on all social networks including Facebook. What also followed was a series of fake, misinformative posts, links, and videos claiming to show you the footage of the aircraft crashing [4], and rumors claiming that the plane had been found…

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    Me, Myself and My Killfie: Characterizing and Preventing Selfie Deaths

    Authors: Hemank Lamba, Varun Bharadhwaj, Mayank Vachher, Divyansh Agarwal, Megha Arora, Ponnurangam Kumaraguru Our world is becoming smaller with time, bringing us closer and bestowing upon us a number of avenues to easily showcase ourselves in any manner we want. Perhaps the biggest facilitating agent in this regard, is Online Social Media (OSM). In a way, OSM replicates our world, with friends, interactions and constant information exchange. The world of OSM seems to have developed an interesting currency of its own too – LIKES and COMMENTS, the dollars and cents of the virtual realm; something which everyone aspires to have in abundance. We are also familiar with the popular “selfie”…

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    The complete picture: Visual Themes and Sentiment on Social Media for First Responders.

    Researchers and academicians all over the world have conducted numerous studies and established that ​social media plays a vital role during crisis events. From citizens helping police to capture suspected terrorists Boston Marathon [5], to vigilant users spreading  situational awareness [6], OSNs have proved their mettle as a powerful platform for information dissemination during crisis. Most of the aforementioned work has relied on textual content posted on OSNs to extract knowledge, and make inferences. Now the thing is, that online media is rapidly moving from text to visual media. With the prevalence of 3G, 4G technologies and high-bandwidth connectivity in most Internet enabled countries, images and videos are gaining much…

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    #TPBT: The Pin-Bang Theory

    In the monsoon semester 2012, I took a course on Privacy and Security in Online Social Media. We had to do a project on a popular online social media. Pinterest, caught my eye. It was new, it was among the TIME Magazine’s top 50 websites of 2011 and then had close to 20 million users. Its growth was amazing; in a matter of 2 years it was well integrated with popular e-commerce sites like e-bay, etsy, Amazon etc. The big white-on-red “P” next to the blue bird and white-on-blue “f” motivated me to work on Pinterest. Share Buttons on Amazon. Without digging much into the OSN and the fact that…

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    Go home Google Groups, you’re drunk!!!

    Well, as they say, no one’s perfect. Not even Google! Evidence: A recent “praise the iPad” bug in Google’s Text-To-Speech [0], which has reportedly, now been rectified, went unnoticed for months! All the geeks out there must be familiar with the concept of bugs. May it be the =rand(200,99) bug in MS word, the famous “Why can’t I create a folder named ‘con’ in Windows” bug, or the Y2K mega-bug; geeks love bugs. Their impact can vary from funny to disastrous. Coming to the point, we (PK and myself) recently discovered a bug in Google Groups, which made me feel rather “unpleasant.” We at Precog, run a mailing list, where…

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    See it, while it’s hot! MultiOSN: Monitoring real-world events on online social media

    Today, the world is a place where “chats” refer to Facebook chats, when people “hang out”, they are referring to Google+, and “following” someone is a Twitter thing! The penetration of social media into the common Internet user’s life has been so intense, that people literally “tweet” about an earthquake before running to safety! Online social media has become one of the fastest, and most widely used means of information transfer today. Especially, when it comes to news, a big proportion of people look for breaking news on Facebook and Twitter! This paradigm shift has resulted because of multiple reasons, the reach of the Internet and online social media, the…

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    The Republic of Ireland

    Football and booze. If those are not the first things that come to your mind when you think of Ireland (or the entire EU for that matter), you’re probably not in the right zone. I didn’t exactly know what to expect when I was about to board my first international flight to Dublin. 19 hours later, I had the answer. Perhaps, it wasn’t about how much the place could offer, it was about how much I was ready to accept! Apparently, I had landed on a Friday, and there was a long weekend to follow. Day 0 (the day I landed) was damn cold by Indian standards, and I was…

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