Monash trio big on big data

15 May 2019 / 13:14 H.

WE owe thanks to three Monash University academics who through their research on algorithms, have now made it easier for the masses, when searching for answers and quality content on internet forums like Reddit (a globally popular website).

Monash Malaysia’s Dr. Lim Wern Han (pix), Monash Caulfield’s Mark James Carman, and Monash Clayton’s Jojo Wong, each from the Faculty of Information Technology in their respective campuses, drew on their experiences in data science to work on this research. They came up with a “Reddit challenge” where their findings would improve the way content is organised (on websites like Reddit), making it easier for the individual user to find content that is relevant, accurate and more useful. They also found that it was possible to predict if a forum user will produce quality comments or malicious and unhelpful ones in the future - by using algorithms to learn user behaviour over large sets of data.

The researchers further experimented with various online features like frequency of good comments, fuzzed vote difference on user-posts, etc. to estimate probability of a user posting good comments and to deduce the “credit” gained by users for their contribution. The information was then propagated using the “statistical pair wise comparison” approach, to quantify the “user expertise”. It was also discovered that websites have control to better promote or restrict users’ posts and that the three researchers are able to contribute new high-quality content and solve complex problems pertaining websites.

In conclusion, the research determined that user votes can be used to predict a user’s likelihood in submitting quality comments; it enables social platforms to circumvent expensive processing of natural language and other multimedia content; and by using algorithms, social platforms can improve how their content is ranked or organised for reader “consumption”. All these result in the ability to establish high density knowledge on the World Wide Web.

Visit for more information on programmes available at Monash University Malaysia’s School of Information Technology.

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