NEWS7 December 2009

US Army launches $35m social network research project

US— The Army Research Laboratory is setting up a new research centre to study social and cognitive networks.

As part of a 10-year, $35.5m project, the Center for Social and Cognitive Networks will look into how networks operate and how information is spread from peer to peer, particularly in the military. The initiative is backed by Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, IBM, and eight other academic institutions including Harvard, MIT and Indiana University.

It will look at the roles of trust and human error in social networks, and at “diffusion and spreading behaviour in biological and social contagion phenomena”.

A statement from Indiana University said: “As technological advances provide tools to better monitor social interactions and influence social networks by providing novel ways for humans to interact, researchers want to understand both the human interactions and the underlying technological infrastructure they utilise.”