Marta Gonzalez, MIT
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Marta C. Gonzalez is Assistant Professor at MIT Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. She received a PhD in physics from Stuttgart Univarsitat (Germany) in 2006 with Hans Herrmann of ETH Zurich. Using approaches from statistical physics, computational sciences, geographic information systems and network theory, she studies network problems such as human mobility patterns using mobile phone communication, propagation of mobile phone viruses and urban transportation models. A project to analyze millions of anonymous cell phone messages is helping her answer questions about where people travel and how social networks connect them. This information can help planners prepare for emergency events such as evacuating a city, or allow public health workers to predict and track the spread of diseases. Professor Gonzalez joined CEE as an assistant professor in July 2009 with a joint appointment with the Engineering Systems Division. She was the finalist in the school-wide faculty search in transportation.


In my talk I will present methods of analysis and models to characterize various aspects of human activity. In the first part of the talk I will focus in analyzing the regular yet rich temporal dynamics in individuals daily activities during weekdays and weekends. We employ statistical learning techniques (i.e., principal component analysis and K-means clustering algorithm) to analyze self-reported activity patterns of 30,000 individuals. We explore three critical issues: (1) the inherent daily activity structure of individuals in a metropolitan area, (2) the temporal variation of individual activities - how they grow and fade over time, and (3) the classification of individual behaviors and the revelation of related social demographic characteristics using large-scale longitudinal data. In the second part I explore adoptions of innovations at the city level. Using data from the adoption of the popular micro-blogging platform, Twitter, we present a model of adoption on a network that places friendships in real geographic space and exposes individuals to mass media influence. We show that homopholy both amongst individuals with similar propensities to adopt a technology and geographic location is critical to reproduce features of real spatiotemporal adoption at a national scale.

Alessandro Vespignani . Geoffrey West . Kathleen C. Engel . Ren Y. Cheng . Eric Bonabeau . Hamid Benbrahim . Marta Gonzalez . Michail Bletsas . Greta Meszoely . Stoyan Tanev . Jukka-Pekka Onnela . Charles Worrell . Dany Bahar . Brian Peltonen .