Thesis of Adnene Belfodil

Exceptional Model Mining for Behavioral Data Analysis


With the rapid proliferation of data platforms collecting and curating data related to various domains such as governments data, education data, environment data or product ratings, more and more data are available online. This offers an unparalleled opportunity to study the behavior of individuals and the interactions between them. In the political sphere, being able to query datasets of voting records provides interesting insights for data journalists and political analysts. In particular, such data can be leveraged for the investigation of exceptionally consensual/controversial topics.

Consider data describing the voting behavior in the European Parliament (EP). Such a dataset records the votes of each member (MEP) in voting sessions held in the parliament, as well as information on the parliamentarians (e.g., gender, national party, European party alliance) and the sessions (e.g., topic, date). This dataset offers opportunities to study the agreement or disagreement of coherent subgroups, especially to highlight unexpected behavior. It is to be expected that on the majority of voting sessions, MEPs will vote along the lines of their European party alliance. However, when matters are of interest to a specific nation within Europe, alignments may change and agreements can be formed or dissolved. For instance, when a legislative procedure on fishing rights is put before the MEPs, the island nation of the UK can be expected to agree on a specific course of action regardless of their party alliance, fostering an exceptional agreement where strong polarization exists otherwise. In this thesis, we aim to discover such exceptional (dis)agreement patterns not only in voting data but also in more generic data, called behavioral data, which involves individuals performing observable actions on entities. We devise two novel methods which
offer complementary angles of exceptional (dis)agreement in behavioral data: within and between groups. These two approaches called Debunk and Deviant, ideally, enables the
implementation of a sufficiently comprehensive tool to highlight, summarize and analyze exceptional comportments in behavioral data. We thoroughly investigate the qualitative and
quantitative performances of the devised methods. Furthermore, we motivate their usage in the context of computational journalism.

Advisor: Philippe Lamarre
Coadvisor: Sylvie Cazalens, Marc Plantevit

Defense date: thursday, october 24, 2019

Sihem Amer-YahiaDirecteur(trice) de rechercheRapporteur(e)
Arno SiebesProfesseur(e)Rapporteur(e)
Arno KnobbeProfesseur(e) associé(e)Examinateur​(trice)
Ioana ManolescuDirecteur(trice) de rechercheExaminateur​(trice)
Amedeo NapoliDirecteur(trice) de rechercheExaminateur​(trice)
Philippe LamarreProfesseur(e)Directeur(trice) de thèse
Sylvie CazalensMaître de conférenceEncadrant(e)
Marc PlantevitMaître de conférenceEncadrant(e)