Project

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Vorhersage von Zu- und Abnahmen sozio-ökonomischer Interaktionen durch Beobachtung und Modellierung von Internet-Aktivitäten und gewerblichen Verkäufen

Applicant Sornette Didier
Number 116551
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Departement Management, Technologie und Ökonomie D-MTEC ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Economics
Start/End 01.05.2007 - 31.05.2009
Approved amount 160'650.00
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Keywords (13)

collective organization; epidemic models; Internet search; endogenous; exogenous; aggregate behavior; complex systems; statistical physics; word-of-mouth; experimental economics; commercial sales; Internet search queries; open source softwares

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
Lay summary
Are commercial successes due to a progressive reputation cascade or the result of a well-orchestrated advertisement, or both? Is fame due to a progressive reputation cascade invading the social network of a receptive society or the result of luck or both? Is the success of a company due to internal corporate excellence or to random unpredictable outside influences or both? Our proposed research is based on the conjecture that classifying behaviors in terms of the endogenous versus exogenous character of events or factors with all their possible more complicated mixed nuances is a very fruitful way of organizing research and knowledge acquisition in complex social and economic systems. Our previous preliminary research, on Internet downloads in response to information shocks, on book sales blockbusters, on the response to a few social shocks, on financial volatility shocks, and on financial bubbles and their crashes, suggests the validity of our proposed concept.
We propose to develop a novel approach to social and economic problems based on using intensive data on the dynamics of commercial sales and internet activity (in several of its components) and mathematical modelling based on combining the study of preference, economics and the physics of complex systems. Our research will be articulated around four specific data-intensive applications: book sales, Internet searches, YouTube (the website to get your videos viewed and rated by anyone) and open source software projects (OSS). We will also pursue other applications in negotiation with appropriate companies and organizations, such the USA National Association of Theatre Owners, to obtain access to the database of the attendance of movie theatres. We will balance our efforts between building up and/or interfacing with appropriate databases, developing original methods of analysis and constructing a strong quantitative basis for predicting mathematical models. This approach will allow us to study the still largely unexplored nature and information content of time series of people’s activities with the goal of providing new often real-time or near real-time information on the preference of people in their different commercial and web-surfing activities. We will address what is arguably the greatest challenge of academic understanding, namely to develop prognostics for the aggregate social dynamics in the form of falsifiable forecasts of future commercial and Internet activities. The proposed project has the ambitious component of developing a laboratory for the study of complex social systems with the goal of making predictions about the future behavior of large groups of interacting individuals. We envision that our efforts should help Switzerland to become a major player in the fast developing world of intelligent marketing and Internet added-value engines. Our research will also be particularly suited for interdisciplinary training of graduate students to prepare them to become entrepreneurs, creative in their ideas and wealth generation for society.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

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