Analyzing the Language of Food on Social Media

When:
Monday, March 27, 2017, 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm PSTiCal
Where:
11th Flr Conf Room-CR #1135
Type:
NL Seminar
Speaker:
Stephen Kobourov (Univ. of Arizona)
Description:

Abstract: We investigate the predictive power behind the language of food on social media. We collect a corpus of over three million food-related posts from Twitter and demonstrate that many latent population characteristics can be directly predicted from this data: overweight rate, diabetes rate, political leaning, and home geographical location of authors. For all tasks, our language-based models significantly outperform the majority- class baselines. Performance is further improved with more complex natural language processing, such as topic modeling. We analyze which textual features have most predictive power for these datasets, providing insight into the connections between the language of food, geographic locale, and community characteristics. Lastly, we design and implement an online system for real-time query and visualization of the dataset. Visualization tools, such as geo-referenced heatmaps, semantics-preserving wordclouds and temporal histograms, allow us to discover more complex, global patterns mirrored in the language of food.

Bio: Stephen Kobourov is a Professor of Computer Science at the University of Arizona. He completed BS degrees in Mathematics and Computer Science at Dartmouth College in 1995, and a PhD in Computer Science at Johns Hopkins University in 2000. He has worked as a Research Scientist at AT&T Research Labs, a Hulmboldt Fellow at the University of Tübingen in Germany, and a Distinguished Fulbright Chair at Charles University in Prague.

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