Social Networks

Dr. Kundan Kandhway works in the domain of Social networks, which as we know play an important role in disseminating a piece of information in a population. A few examples where social networks are used to disseminate a piece of information in a target population (possibly under resource constraints) include political campaigns, social awareness campaigns by governments, advertisement campaigns by companies to promote their products, movie promotion, charity campaigns by NGOs, and crowdfunding campaigns by entrepreneurs etc.

In this research, he has modeled information diffusion in a population using various epidemic models and has devised optimal campaigning strategies to maximize the reach of information. Information epidemics are modeled using various methods such as Susceptible-Infected, Susceptible-Infected- Susceptible, Susceptible-Infected-Recovered and Maki Thompson epidemic processes. However, the standard models are modified to incorporate the intervention made by the campaigner to enhance information propagation. Intervention strategies (or controls) used by campaigners to enhance the extent of information diffusion include direct recruitment of individuals as spreaders, and providing word-of-mouth incentives to the spreaders. These controls can be implemented by placing advertisements in the mass media, announcing referral/cashback rewards for introducing friends to a product or service being advertised etc.

In the different problems considered by him, social contacts are modeled with varying levels of complexity -- population is homogeneously mixed or follows heterogeneous mixing. He studies variants of the optimal campaigning problem where he optimizes different objective functions for the campaigner.