Tensor Learning for Recovering Missing Information: Algorithms and Applications on Social Media
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Real-time social systems like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat have been growing rapidly, producing exabytes of data in different views or aspects. Coupled with more and more GPS-enabled sharing of videos, images, blogs, and tweets that provide valuable information regarding “who”, “where”, “when” and “what”, these real-time human sensor data promise new research opportunities to uncover models of user behavior, mobility, and information sharing. These real-time dynamics in social systems usually come in multiple aspects, which are able to help better understand the social interactions of the underlying network. However, these multi-aspect datasets are often raw and incomplete owing to various unpredictable or unavoidable reasons; for instance, API limitations and data sampling policies can lead to an incomplete (and often biased) perspective on these multi-aspect datasets. This missing data could raise serious concerns such as biased estimations on structural properties of the network and properties of information cascades in social networks. In order to recover missing values or information in social systems, we identify “4S” challenges: extreme sparsity of the observed multi-aspect datasets, adoption of rich side information that is able to describe the similarities of entities, generation of robust models rather than limiting them on specific applications, and scalability of models to handle real large-scale datasets (billions of observed entries). With these challenges in mind, this dissertation aims to develop scalable and interpretable tensor-based frameworks, algorithms and methods for recovering missing information on social media. In particular, this dissertation research makes four unique contributions: _ The first research contribution of this dissertation research is to propose a scalable framework based on low-rank tensor learning in the presence of incomplete information. Concretely, we formally define the problem of recovering the spatio-temporal dynamics of online memes and tackle this problem by proposing a novel tensor-based factorization approach based on the alternative direction method of multipliers (ADMM) with the integration of the latent relationships derived from contextual information among locations, memes, and times. _ The second research contribution of this dissertation research is to evaluate the generalization of the proposed tensor learning framework and extend it to the recommendation problem. In particular, we develop a novel tensor-based approach to solve the personalized expert recommendation by integrating both the latent relationships between homogeneous entities (e.g., users and users, experts and experts) and the relationships between heterogeneous entities (e.g., users and experts, topics and experts) from the geo-spatial, topical, and social contexts. _ The third research contribution of this dissertation research is to extend the proposed tensor learning framework to the user topical profiling problem. Specifically, we propose a tensor-based contextual regularization model embedded into a matrix factorization framework, which leverages the social, textual, and behavioral contexts across users, in order to overcome identified challenges. _ The fourth research contribution of this dissertation research is to scale up the proposed tensor learning framework to be capable of handling real large-scale datasets that are too big to fit in the main memory of a single machine. Particularly, we propose a novel distributed tensor completion algorithm with the trace-based regularization of the auxiliary information based on ADMM under the proposed tensor learning framework, which is designed to scale up to real large-scale tensors (e.g., billions of entries) by efficiently computing auxiliary variables, minimizing intermediate data, and reducing the workload of updating new tensors.
Ge, Hancheng (2017). Tensor Learning for Recovering Missing Information: Algorithms and Applications on Social Media. Doctoral dissertation, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from