A Unified Probabilistic Model of User Activities and Relations on Social Networking Sites / 2387
Xiaofeng Yu, Junqing Xie, Shuai Wang
In this work, we investigate the bidirectional mutual interactions (BMI) between users' activities and user-user relationships on social networking sites. We analyze and study the fundamental mechanism that drives the characteristics and dynamics of BMI is the underlying social influence. We make an attempt at a unified probabilistic approach, called joint activity and relation (JAR), for modeling and predicting users' activities and user-user relationships simultaneously in a single coherent framework. Instead of incorporating social influence in an ad hoc manner, we show that social influence can be captured quantitatively. Based on JAR, we learn social influence between users and users' personal preferences for both user activity prediction and user-user relation discovery through statistical inference. To address the challenges of the introduced multiple layers of hidden variables in JAR, we propose a new learning algorithm based on expectation maximization (EM) and we further propose a powerful and efficient generalization of the EM based algorithm for model fitting.We show that JAR exploits mutual interactions and benefits, by taking advantage of the learned social influence and users' personal preferences, for enhanced user activity prediction and user-user relation discovery. We further experiment with real world dataset to verify the claimed advantages achieving substantial performance gains.