Weekly Reports: May 30 – June 5, 2016, Expanding Twitter Terrorism Research

Apologies for the hiatus. Last week was my first full week back, since I was in Germany for the ICWSM 2016 conference and presenting at the HCIL Symposium the previous two weeks. It was my first time at ICWSM, in Germany, and presenting at the HCIL Symposium, and all of it was amazing!

I don’t have the usual day-by-day breakdown of my research, but I will instead post a general overview of my work from last week.

My ICWSM paper was on Twitter’s response to terrorist attacks in Western countries, and I focused specifically on the Boston Marathon bombing, Sydney Hostage Crisis, and Charlie Hebdo attacks (my poster is available here: ICWSM16_Poster_Portrait). Since writing the paper though, two additional tragic events occurred: the Paris November attacks, and the Brussels airport attacks. It made sense to apply the same analyses from my ICWSM paper to these new cases and see if the same behaviors were observed.

I also wanted to experiment with some of the new technology that supports interactive analyses on “big data,” so I began working with Anaconda, Apache Toree, and Bokeh-Scala to see if I could duplicate my original analyses directly on the big NSF-funded cluster we have on campus at the University of Maryland.

To these ends, I built a pair of Jupyter notebooks (using the Apache Toree Spark kernel) that runs on our cluster, reads data directly from HDFS, analyzes it with Spark, and produces graphics using Bokeh.

I’ve made these notebooks and the original ICWSM analysis available on Github. Feel free to modify and play with the data and analysis!

ICWSM 2016 Analytics

Paris November Attacks

Brussels Transit Attacks