A University of Wolverhampton academic has played a
leading role in a project to create the world’s first social media
driven light show at the EDF Energy London Eye for the
Mike Thelwall, Professor of Information Science at the
University’s School of Technology, was
asked to lend his expertise to the project to create the stunning
Professor Thelwall is one of the leading experts worldwide in
infometrics- the science of measuring information to assess the
importance of a set of documents, and Mike specialises in the
newest area – measuring the value of web pages.
As part of the Energy of the Nation project commissioned by EDF
Energy, an official sponsor of London 2012, Olympic related tweets
have been tracked since May.
Every tweet is analysed for its sentiment, whether it’s
positive, negative or neutral. These are then filtered through a
computer program, which converts them into a light show using the
The colours will reflect the mood of people tweeting such as
purple for negative, yellow for positive and green for neutral.
The shows use 24 hours of data and transforms it into a 24
minutes event which will run every night during the Olympics and
Paralympics, starting tonight at 9pm.
Mike has developed a specific related dictionary of 2,750 terms
using a system he developed called SentiStrength, which can
determine the positivity or negativity of tweets.
He said: “The system basically scores every tweet according to a
host of keywords and assigns it an overall sentiment. It all
happens in a millionth of a second.
“The sort of work I am involved is normally hidden away in
papers and offices so to be involved in something where you can see
your work on a global scale, 137 metres high in the sky is
fantastic. I’ve been telling everyone about it.
“Once the Olympics get under way I think you’ll see a surge of
positivity. We’ve had a bit of negativity in the last week or so
around security issues but once the games start and hopefully Team
GB start bringing some medals back then we’ll see plenty of
Mike’s system is used by some companies to measure how people
are talking or responding to their products.
He and is research team are also developing it so computers and
even computer generated characters in virtual worlds can respond to
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Date Issued: July 19 2012
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