A Bayesian and Machine Learning approach to estimating Influence Model parameters for IM-RO

Trisha Lawrence

The rise of Online Social Networks (OSNs) has caused an insurmountable amount of interest from advertisers and researchers seeking to monopolize on its features. Researchers aim to develop strategies for determining how information is propagated among users within an OSN that is captured by diffusion or influence models. We consider the influence models for the IM-RO problem, a novel formulation to the Influence Maximization (IM) problem based on implementing Stochastic Dynamic Programming (SDP). In contrast to existing approaches involving influence spread and the theory of submodular functions, the SDP method focuses on optimizing clicks and ultimately revenue to advertisers in OSNs. Existing approaches to influence maximization have been actively researched over the past decade, with applications to multiple fields, however, our approach is a more practical variant to the original IM problem. In this paper, we provide an analysis on the influence models of the IM-RO problem by conducting experiments on synthetic and real-world datasets. We propose a Bayesian and Machine Learning approach for estimating the parameters of the influence models for the (Influence Maximization- Revenue Optimization) IM-RO problem. We present a Bayesian hierarchical model and implement the well-known Naive Bayes classifier (NBC), Decision Trees classifier (DTC) and Random Forest classifier (RFC) on three real-world datasets. Compared to previous approaches to estimating influence model parameters, our strategy has the great advantage of being directly implementable in standard software packages such as WinBUGS/OpenBUGS/JAGS and Apache Spark. We demonstrate the efficiency and usability of our methods in terms of spreading information and generating revenue for advertisers in the context of OSNs.

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