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****Opinion Dynamics and Political Conflicts in the Media - A Complex 
Networks Perspective**
*DATES:* Fall 2017 - Fall 2020
*WORKSITE:* LIP6 / 4 place Jussieu / 75005 Paris
*SALARY:* 21k€ gross per year (plus eventual teaching responsibilities)

- Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie
- École doctorale Informatique, Télécommunications et Électronique (ED130)
- Laboratoire d'informatique de Paris 6 (UMR 7606)
- Équipe “Complex Networks” (

- Robin Lamarche-Perrin ([log in to unmask])
- Matthieu Latapy ([log in to unmask])
- Clémence Magnien ([log in to unmask])

This PhD position is founded by the European H2020 ODYCCEUS project 
“Opinion Dynamics and Cultural Conflicts in European Spaces” that 
started in January 2017 (

***Please send to <[log in to unmask]> before the 28th of 
May, 2017:
- a complete resume;
- a transcript of your master's grades;
- a summary of your master's thesis;
- a short covering letter (one or two pages) describing in more details 
what would be your PhD project.
Applications in French and in English are welcome.

***Social media and the digitisation of news are having far-reaching 
effects on the way individuals and communities communicate, organise, 
and express themselves. Can the information circulating on these 
platforms be exploited to better understand and analyse the enormous 
problems facing our contemporary society? Could this help us to better 
monitor the growing number of social crises due to cultural differences 
and diverging world-views? Studying the structure of debates in the 
public sphere requires sophisticated methods for the analysis of 
information flows between individuals. How is information shaped and 
broadcasted by mass media? How to describe the way opinions are 
discussed in social media? Debates are often represented as complex 
entanglements of such social interactions, embedded in space and time, 
and displaying a multilevel structure: From individual to institutional 
discourses; From regional to international matters; From the fast 
dynamics of media “buzzes” to the slower dynamics of social controversies.

To address these challenging issues, this PhD position aims at 
developing new methods for the analysis of multidimensional and 
multilevel networks in social sciences. First, by building on recent 
work in dynamical graph theory regarding the “link stream” 
representation of evolving networks [4], which provides a novel and 
intuitive formalism for the spatio-temporal description of social 
interactions by focusing on their causal structure (who interacts with 
whom, when) and concealing for a moment their content (how, why, about 
what). Second, by integrating recent developments in graph compression 
[3], which builds on information-theoretical data compression [2], to 
provide a macroscopic perspective on such interaction structures and 
thus achieve a global understanding of complex interaction patterns.

The efficiency of the proposed analysis methods will then be evaluated 
by empirical work on real data, in collaboration with researchers in 
media studies, in political sciences, and in quantitative geography that 
are working on the ODYCCEUS project. First, by focusing on the analysis 
of opinion dynamics in social media, such as Twitter, and looking at the 
topology and dynamics of interactions related to a particular debate 
(e.g., climate change, presidential elections, Brexit). Here, a focus 
will be put on the study of typical interaction patterns between actors 
of the debate, such as: polarisation, leadership, communitarianism, and 
solidarity behaviours. Second, by focusing on the analysis of 
conflicting world views in mass media [1], for example by modelling the 
news about international conflicts as a dynamical graph between 
countries and media outlets (citations in articles) or between couples 
of countries (co-occurrences in articles). The world view of different 
media outlets will then be compared by graph analysis, thus allowing to 
exhibit particular behaviours depending on the geographical, political, 
and cultural interests of the media.

***Note that this PhD position does not require any preliminary 
knowledge of the hereabove mentioned theoretical frameworks (dynamical 
graph and graph compression), but however requires the capacity to work 
with abstract formalisms in general, in order to build generic and sound 
methods within the domain of theoretical computer science. This PhD 
position also requires a genuine interest for interdisciplinary work, 
and in particular a curiosity for some of the research questions that 
arise in social and political sciences about traditional media and 
social media.

***- Developments in graph theory for the analysis of dynamical and 
multilevel networks: for example, by building on the “link stream” 
formalism [4] and on information-theoretical graph compression [3].
- Implementation and documentation of algorithms, analysis, and 
visualisation tools. Integration of these tools to a software that will 
be developed within the ODYCCEUS project: the “Opinion Observatory”.
- Empirical validation of the theoretical contributions in collaboration 
with social scientists on several case studies regarding European 
debates or conflicts (e.g., refugee crisis, Brexit, COP21, European 

***- Learning about theoretical work in media studies and in political 
sciences about the theory of agenda-setting to fit the designed methods 
to the needs of sociological and political analysis.
- Comparing developed methods with those that will be developed in 
parallel by other partners of the ODYCCEUS project (e.g., spacial 
interaction models in quantitative geography, agent-based opinion 
dynamic models in computational sociology).
- Dealing with real, complex, and large-scale data.
- Dissemination of the contributions through technical reports, 
publications, demonstrations, and networking, in particular during the 
consortium meetings of the ODYCCEUS project.

***[1] Claude Grasland, Robin Lamarche-Perrin, Benjamin Loveluck, and 
Hugues Pecout. L'agenda géomédiatique international : analyse 
multidimensionnelle des flux d'actualité. L'Espace Géographique, 
45:25–43, 2016.
[2] Robin Lamarche-Perrin, Yves Demazeau, and Jean-Marc Vincent. 
Building Optimal Macroscopic Representations of Complex Multi-agent 
Systems. Application to the Spatial and Temporal Analysis of 
International Relations through News Aggregation. Transactions on 
Computational Collective Intelligence, XV:1–27, 2014.
[3] Robin Lamarche-Perrin, Tiphaine Viard, and al. A General Framework 
for Graph Aggregation., CoRR, Forthcoming in 2017.
[4] Tiphaine Viard, Matthieu Latapy, and Clémence Magnien. Computing 
maximal cliques in link streams. Theoretical Computer Science, 
609:245252, 2016.

Robin Lamarche-Perrin

Centre national de la recherche scientifique
Institut des systèmes complexes de Paris Île-de-France
Laboratoire d'informatique de Paris 6

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