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Oh, how true !
Hate it or love it, one simply¬†can’t ignore it.
Social media and/or networking ūüėč

Owing to my tiny explorations and special fondness for social networks furthered by their tinkering to analyse the existing social structures, patterns and phenomenon, I came across HASHKAT (#k@). Consequentially, I worked on this fascinating project as a Mitacs Globalink Research Scholar at the beautiful, archaic and erudite  National Research Council of Canada (NRC) with Dr. Isaac Tamblyn, one of the coolest professors I have met & worked with till date.

As we all know, in this 21st century, fathoming online social networks which have become the platform of choice for user interactions over the internet gives valuable insight into human interactions & social psychology. And here comes Hashkat, aiming to untangle the alluring social network analysis !

HASHKAT is an Open Source social network simulation tool, proudly hosted on github. An agent-based, Kinetic Monte Carlo engine, it is designed to comprehend the growth & model information propagation through an online social network such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc.

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It can be used to study the emergent phenomena of large social networks based on real-world observations of user behaviour incorporating all elements like multiple user profiles, messaging, trending topics & advertising. This perspective provides a set of methods for analysing the structure of social entities as well as a variety of theories to identify and explain local & global patterns, locate influential entities, and examine network dynamics.

While at NRC, I worked on enhancing the features of Hashkat, which is written in C++, Python with a dash of Shell and Lua. I incorporated WebGL in Hashkat output segment to visualise data generated by simulating realistic social network based on user-defined constraints, enabling users to picture hypotheses for growth mechanisms and scenarios for information propagation. I also developed dynamic website of Hashkat along with a dashboard in AngularJS for input of customisation variables and incorporation of allied elements of authentic social networks.

I explored the domain of social influence in social networks and worked towards developing an algorithm for quantifying it. While brainstorming on this with my mentor and peer group, I could visualise the impact of social structures on individual’s thought process thereby intriguing me further. My other involvements were in fixing bugs in existing codebase, incorporating continuous integration for automated building & testing via TravisCI and integrating services for code reviews and code quality monitoring.

I am super glad to have been contributing to this novel concept ever since, to emphasise significance of social networks in today’s world in fathoming human interactions & social psychology thereby introducing the world of social network simulation by illustrating HASHKAT which aims on building a powerful open source tool for online social networks modelling, simulation, and visualisation.

“Bagging Mitacs Globalink Research Internship and working with one of the coolest professor in the coveted National Research Council of Canada is the sparkling highlight in my pursuit of education and career advancement. It has not only dispensed an opportunity for technical growth but also a pedestal to explore the lovely country, live in a peaceful city like Ottawa independently, acquaint with the warm Canadian culture and network with the brightest minds from all over the world working in academia and beyond. What a wonderful learning experience it was, truly the best days of my life so far !”

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