The UA Blog

Where Are They Now Wednesday: Himel Dev

Himel Dev from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology was the 2014 programme winner in the Computer Sciences & Information Technology category. His paper was titled “User Interaction Based Community Detection in Online Social Networks”.

Himel is currently a third year PhD student in Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His research interests are in the area of data mining and data science. He is working on a variety of research projects encompassing social media mining, visual analytics, and user behaviour modeling.

“My day-to-day activity involves both torturing data (data science), and building tools and techniques for torturing data (data mining). There are good days and bad days. On good days, my results are statistically significant and my model provides explanation. On bad days, either of these two could go wrong.”

Himel is most excited about his current works on the sustainability of social media platforms. This research integrates and extends stylised facts from social science and related disciplines including economics, sociology, and ecology to develop explanatory models for mining and modeling social media. One of his recent contributions will be appearing at the World Wide Web Conference (WWW)—the premier venue to discuss research relevant to the web. In this work, he portrayed community question answering websites (such as Quora and Stack Overflow) as knowledge markets, and analysed how and why these markets can fail at scale. The broad implication of this research is to shed insights into knowledge market failures, and design policies to prevent these failures for general social media.

They are developing conceptual bridges to integrate social science concepts, especially economic theories, into data science methods. The application area is very exciting—understanding how and why a social media platform succeeds or fails, e.g, why did Orkut fail, while Facebook continues to thrive. The eventual goal for them is to provide insights on how to design a sustainable social media platform.

“Being recognized at UA is one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. It was a launching pad in my academic career that led to several other recognitions including the National ICT Achievement Award—prestigious recognition by the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. When I received the news, (coincidentally) I was attending Heidelberg Laureate Forum—another treasured event of my life. The overwhelming appreciation I received in next few weeks was incredible. It keeps inspiring me in my darkest hours.”

Read Himel’s paper on The Undergraduate Awards Library. 

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