Group:Research Talk
Title: Maximizing Profit and Greening Social Media
Speaker: Shaolei Ren University of California, Los Angeles
Time: 2011-12-12 15:30-2011-12-12 16:30
Venue: FIT 1-222


The emergence of social media has enabled new forms of social interactions, such as social networking and crowdsourcing, by leveraging the power of the Internet and computational systems. Every day, millions of people “tweet” on Twitter to share their opinions, upload videos onto YouTube to broadcast themselves, and post tasks on Amazon Mechanical Turk to utilize human intelligence. While social media is becoming an integral part of our lives, it has posed various unprecedented challenges, among which maximizing profit and greening social media are of particular interest because of their profound impacts on the sustainable growth of social media and our environment.


In the talk, I will focus on a social media platform and present a payment-based mechanism, in which the platform may provide participants with economic incentives or disincentives to maximize its profit. The mechanism addresses two major design challenges in social media: (1) participant diversity in terms of knowledge and socioeconomic statuses; and (2) media substitutability. The result suggests that by applying the proposed mechanism, the platform may double its profit under certain circumstances, and that the platform may even maximize its profit by charging participants and eliminating low-quality contributions. To complement the profit-maximizing solution, I will discuss energy minimization techniques and show that the emerging heterogeneity (in server configurations, electricity price variations, etc.) can be exploited to reduce the energy consumption in supporting the continued growth of social media. Simulations modeling a large social media system demonstrate that heterogeneity enables new advances in energy saving, which translates into a significant increase in profit and decrease in carbon emissions.

Short Bio:

Shaolei Ren received his B.E. degree and M.Phil. degree from Tsinghua University in 2006 and from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology in 2008, respectively, both in electronic engineering. Since September, 2008, he has been working towards his Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering at University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). His research interests include green computing, smart grid, social computation, network economics and pricing, communications and networking. He has published over 20 refereed papers in IEEE/ACM Transactions and various international conferences. He was the recipient of Best Paper Award at IEEE International Conference on Communications in 2009, and was selected by IBM T. J. Watson Research as one of the 10 worldwide Emerging Leaders in Multimedia and Signal Processing in 2010. In recognition of his research, he received the prestigious 2011-2012 Dissertation Year Fellowship from UCLA.