In-depth behavior understanding and use: The behavior informatics approach

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Journal Article
Information Sciences, 2010, 180 (17), pp. 3067 - 3085
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The in-depth analysis of human behavior has been increasingly recognized as a crucial means for disclosing interior driving forces, causes and impact on businesses in handling many challenging issues such as behavior modeling and analysis in virtual organizations, web community analysis, counter-terrorism and stopping crime. The modeling and analysis of behaviors in virtual organizations is an open area. Traditional behavior modeling mainly relies on qualitative methods from behavioral science and social science perspectives. On the other hand, so-called behavior analysis is actually based on human demographic and business usage data, such as churn prediction in the telecommunication industry, in which behavior-oriented elements are hidden in routinely collected transactional data. As a result, it is ineffective or even impossible to deeply scrutinize native behavior intention, lifecycle and impact on complex problems and business issues. In this paper, we propose the approach of behavior informatics (BI), in order to support explicit and quantitative behavior involvement through a conversion from source data to behavioral data, and further conduct genuine analysis of behavior patterns and impacts. BI consists of key components including behavior representation, behavioral data construction, behavior impact analysis, behavior pattern analysis, behavior simulation, and behavior presentation and behavior use. We discuss the concepts of behavior and an abstract behavioral model, as well as the research tasks, process and theoretical underpinnings of BI. Two real-world case studies are demonstrated to illustrate the use of BI in dealing with complex enterprise problems, namely analyzing exceptional market microstructure behavior for market surveillance and mining for high impact behavior patterns in social security data for governmental debt prevention. Substantial experiments have shown that BI has the potential to greatly complement the existing empirical and specific means by finding deeper and more informative patterns leading to greater in-depth behavior understanding. BI creates new directions and means to enhance the quantitative, formal and systematic modeling and analysis of behaviors in both physical and virtual organizations. © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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