text-only page produced automatically by LIFT Text Transcoder Skip all navigation and go to page contentSkip top navigation and go to directorate navigationSkip top navigation and go to page navigation
National Science Foundation Home National Science Foundation - Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)
Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE)
design element
CISE Home
About CISE
Funding Opportunities
Awards
News
Events
Discoveries
Publications
Advisory Committee
Career Opportunities
Advisory Committee for Cyberinfrastructure
See Additional CISE Resources
View CISE Staff
CISE Organizations
Advanced Cyberinfrastructure (ACI)
Computing and Communication Foundations (CCF)
Computer and Network Systems (CNS)
Information & Intelligent Systems (IIS)
Proposals and Awards
Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide
  Introduction
Proposal Preparation and Submission
bullet Grant Proposal Guide
  bullet Grants.gov Application Guide
Award and Administration
bullet Award and Administration Guide
Award Conditions
Other Types of Proposals
Merit Review
NSF Outreach
Policy Office
Additional CISE Resources
Assistant Director's Presentations and Congressional Testimony
CS Bits & Bytes
CISE Distinguished Lecture Series
Webcasts/Webinars
WATCH Series
Workshops
CISE Strategic Plan for Broadening Participation
Cybersecurity Ideas Lab Report
Keith Marzullo on Serving in CISE
Other Site Features
Special Reports
Research Overviews
Multimedia Gallery
Classroom Resources
NSF-Wide Investments

Email this pagePrint this page

Discovery
Detecting Hidden Groups on the Internet

In the free-form clamor of the Internet's discussion groups and other public forums, researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute want to listen for the whispers of groups trying to stay hidden.

icon of a hand and www

World Wide Web
Credit and Larger Version

July 30, 2004

In the free-form clamor of the Internet’s discussion groups and other public forums, Mark Goldberg, Malik Magdon-Ismail and their colleagues at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute want to listen for the whispers of groups trying to stay hidden.

Since September 11, 2001, some have feared that general-interest Internet forums could be co-opted by terrorist groups to camouflage coded messages. To detect those groups amidst unrelated Internet traffic, the RPI team has combined statistical learning algorithms, graph theory, social network theories and other methods to trace the patterns of message exchange and study how these patterns evolve.

From the evolving patterns alone -- and without the need to read or understand the messages themselves -- they can reverse engineer the social networks that form naturally among discussants, as well as the messages exchanged among the members of groups that had been concealing their communications.

The work was initially supported by NSF's directorate for Mathematical and Physical Sciences through the Approaches to Combat Terrorism program, which supports new concepts in basic research and workforce development with the potential to contribute to national security. Goldberg, Magdon-Ismail, Bulent Yener, William Wallace and Mukkai Krishnamoorthy were subsequently awarded an Information Technology Research award to expand techniques developed with the earlier grant and make them practical for real-world Internet discussion groups.

In addition to identifying hidden groups, the techniques could also be used to help system administrators efficiently allocate resources for active forums, model the spread of e-mail viruses and develop appropriate reactions and suggest ways to alter membership policies to promote better online behavior.

-- David Hart

Investigators
Mark Goldberg
Malik Magdon-Ismail

Related Institutions/Organizations
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Locations
New York

Related Programs
Approaches to Combat Terrorism
Information Technology Research for National Priorities

Related Awards
#0346341 SGER ACT: Locating Hidden Groups in Communication Networks
#0324947 ITR: Study of Dynamically Evolving Social Groups in Communication Networks

Total Grants
$407,026

border=0/


Email this pagePrint this page
Back to Top of page