updated: 2/2/2012 8:14:24 AM

Purdue Tracking Super Bowl Fan Experience

InsideINdianaBusiness.com Report

A team of Purdue University researchers is helping state officials to monitor and measure social media reactions to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. The project is designed to gather information and assemble the data into an easily-understandable platform.

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February 1, 2012

News Release

West Lafayette, Ind. - Purdue University researchers are partnering with state officials to monitor social media sites and chatter surrounding Super Bowl XLVI activities in Indianapolis to help organizers track fan experiences for this weekend's big game.

The Purdue team is analyzing data drawn from public postings on Facebook, Twitter, blogs and other such sites for Indiana's Office of Technology and the Host Committee of Super Bowl XLVI in Indianapolis.

"The Host Committee of Super Bowl XLVI is working very hard to make this a pleasant experience for everyone, and our research team is providing them the timely tools to help make that possible," said Eric Dietz, Purdue professor of computer and information technology and director of the Purdue Homeland Security Institute (PHSI) in Discovery Park.

"We are monitoring the daily discussions to get a feel for what's going on in and around Indianapolis related to areas such as entertainment, parking, traffic patterns, public safety and other trends," said Dietz, a co-principal investigator on the project.

Mihaela Vorvoreanu, a Purdue professor of computer graphics technology and project co-principal, is leading efforts on what types of information to gather from social media analytics and open-source platforms and how to assemble that data into a story that's easy to understand.

"This has been a valuable experience to help the Super Bowl host committee make sense out of large quantities of data, to recognize trends and issues, and to be able to present the information in an actionable format," she said. "This also is a very exciting, and maybe a once-in-a-lifetime experience for these students, to be able to be involved with an event as big as the Super Bowl."

Purdue graduate students on the team, which has been using software packages donated by Radian 6 and Visual Technologies, are Israa Bukhari of PHSI and Geovon Boisvenue of the College of Technology. Cliff Wojtalewicz, PHSI managing director and a doctoral student in the College of Technology, is the other co-principal investigator.

Robert Paglia is director of IN.Gov, Indiana's official Web portal, a service provided by the Indiana Office of Technology. He said the daily reports to his office and the host committee since early January have provided invaluable information to help the committee analyze public opinion, reactions and general perceptions of Indianapolis hospitality, accommodations and safety.

"The information we've received has been very positive. The goal is to monitor the reports daily to ensure that we continue to perform the tasks we do well and improve on others as we receive feedback," Paglia said. "We are very excited about our partnership with Purdue University and our plans to work together to help improve the state's services to our constituents."

While the state is receiving valuable information about activities surrounding Sunday night's (Feb. 5) NFL championship between the New England Patriots and the New York Giants, Purdue researchers also are working on ways to better use the technologies for general public safety at other large-scale events. Their findings and recommendations could benefit upcoming events in the Midwest, including the Indianapolis 500 and the NATO and G-8 Summits in Chicago in May.

"Social media analytics tools are used widely by key decision makers in marketing and customer service," Wojtalewicz said. "We are exploring their application in different situations where they can be put to use to improve public policy and benefit the general public."

Source: Purdue University

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