452397 The Distribution of Online News Evaluated By Chemical Engineering and Process Control Tools

Tuesday, November 15, 2016: 2:12 PM
Monterey I (Hotel Nikko San Francisco)
Robert N. Grass and Wendelin J. Stark, Institute for Chemical and Bioengineering, ETH-Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland

Many decisions we make in our personal and professional life are influenced by news articles in the mass media. Throughout the last years our access to news has significantly changed. The constant and immediate access to new articles facilitated by the global connection has greatly accelerated the dissipation of information. Triggered by the need of understanding the flow of information we decided to utilize traditional chemical engineering tools to describe the dissipation rate of news from an unique event through the mass media to the final reader.(1)

As data source we firstly focused on news triggered by scientific events (publication of new articles in scientific journals), as the flow of such news can be monitored precisely by a free-to-use online tool (Altmetrics). Data was aggregated from the online tool and a linear system identification method was applied to identify the main characteristics of the processes involved. The data is discussed in terms of time scale analysis, but also in terms of preferential attachment (i.e. aggregation) phenomena. 

In a second step the derived characteristics of scientific news were compared with data on political news today and in the past (prior to the internet). In this comparison the metrics of time constants and gains were highly beneficial and resulted in a quantitative insight into describing the flow of information.

We believe that the discussed approach is not only of educational value, but that traditional chemical engineering tools (e.g. linear system response, aggregation and diffusion phenomena) are highly valuable in identifying and quantifying processes in big data.

(1) RN Grass, WJ Stark, AIChE J. 62, 1104 (2016).

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See more of this Session: Big Data Analytics in Chemical Engineering
See more of this Group/Topical: Computing and Systems Technology Division