SBP-BRiMS 2020 Grand Interdisciplinary Data-Science and Modeling Challenge.
Oct 19-22, 2020, Virtual

More information on Challenge 1 Opioids.

More information on Challenge 2 Disinformation.


  • Participants may work individually or in teams.
  • Participants must define what they mean by disinformation.
  • Participants must use data related to at least two social media. Data from just on-line mainstream news sites is only of tertiary interest.
  • Participants must address one of the three questions above.
  • Participants should address a social science theory or policy relevant issue and should employ one or more methodologies appropriate for the empirical assessment of or forecasting on the basis of big data (e.g., computational algorithms, machine learning, computer simulation, social network analysis, text mining).
  • Each participating team may prepare one or more entry.
  • Entries must represent original work that has not been previously published or submitted to other challenges.
  • Each participating team must send at least one member to the SBP-BRiMS 2020 conference to present a poster describing their entry, to do a presentatation that is video taped, and to, if they win, do a presentation on the last day. At least one team member must register and attend the conference.
  • Participants are encouraged to use any data set of interest. However, this data must be provided along with the challenge paper. This data will become part of a public repository. To that end – a) the names of individuals in the data set (or their social media id), must be de-identified, b) the ids of specific social media posts should be replace by fake ids. If the submitting team does not know how to do that, Dr. Kathleen Carley will have a third party run a de-identifier on the data for the participating team.
  • At the conference, all entries will be judged by the community using a participant voting system.
  • The individual or group that submits the winning entry, and that submitting the runner-up entry, will have their full length paper describing their challenge solution published in a SBP-BRiMS special issue of the journal Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory. Submission to the challenge problem means that you consent to publish the fill length paper in this venue.


A strong entry generally has one or more of these components:

  • Employ multiple data sets.
  • Be theory based.
  • Include at least one high quality visualization (note that participants will be allowed to display dynamic visualizations via some form of electronic media e.g., by hanging a tablet from the poster. However, please note that tables will not be provided.
  • Account for biases in the data across time, space, topics and sources.
  • Demonstrates a deep understanding of the problem being addressed.
  • Providea a new metric, simulation or algorithm development such as:
    1. A new spatial, temporal, or network analytic methodology or algorithm, or a simulation model, that can cope with the vast scale of open source data (e.g.Twitter data) and support answering a key social or policy issue.
    2. A new spatial analytic methodology that can better take into account change over time and non-spatial distances (such as co-occurrences and semantic similarity between locations).
    3. A new network methodology that better incorporate the diversity of actor and relationship types in the data, spatio-temporal information, or for constructing edges from the data and for distributing actor and edge attributes onto the graph.
    4. A novel simulation that that supports reasoning about the spread of fake news or propaganda that uses empirical data to either instantiate the model or to confirm some of the results.
  • Generates a new empirical finding that challenges or provides novel support for existing social or political theory, or provides information of policy relevance. Note, the results of computer simulation are viewed as empirical findings.

In addition, a strong entry should be well-written and provide some level of creativity in its use of or combination of data.

Submitting an Entry

What to Submit

You need to submit 3 things - 10 page paper in conference format, an 8 minute video, and a single powerpoint teaser slide - that we can use to promote your entry. All three of these will go in the non-archival on-line proceedings.

Challenge Paper: A 10-page paper describing the project. This includes references as well. This should define:

  • What social/policy question was asked or challenge addressed?
  • Why is this question important or the challenge critical in the context of fake news and/or propaganda?
  • What data sets were used?
  • What is the novel contribution?
  • What is the key methodology or methodologies used?
  • What is the key policy issue or theory being addressed?
  • Who is the team? Provide names, email and institution.

An 8-minute video: This will be put on line.

Promotion/teaser Slide:
This is a single powerpoint slide. The purpose of this slide is to excite people to come to your poster. This slide will also be put on line. We will use this slide to promote your entry. This slide should contain:

  • Title of project
  • Names of all team members
This slide may contain:
  • Any word or image or idea that you think will promote your poster
  • Logos for your group, company or organization

When to Submit

Challenge Response Submission: 01-September-2020. Submit a short abstract.

Author Notification: 10-September-2020

Final Submission: 30-September-2020. Submit: 10 page paper in conference format, an 8 minute video, and a single powerpoint teaser slide - that we can use to promote your entry.

Where to Submit

All materials should be submitted directly to

How to Submit

All challenge participants will need to submit these items:

  1. Short Abstract: This is a minimum of 2 pages and a maximum of 6 pages including references and figures. It should address what was done, how it was done, what data was used, and how this met the challenge.
  2. One page slide: This is a synopsis slide that will be used in the 1 minute teaser presentation to get people to come to the poster.
  3. An 8-minute video of their entry.
  4. Final Challenge paper: This is a maximum of 10 pages including references and figures. These should not have been submitted elsewhere. These will be put on the conference website as part of the online proceedings which is not archival. In addition, the final paper of the winner, runner up, and potentially other final papers, will be published in a special issue of the journal of Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory which is archival. Submission of a challenge entry constitutes willingness to have the final challenge paper published in the venue.
  5. Who is the team? Provide names, email and institution.
  6. The abstract, teaser slide, and 8-minute video that are student-led need to be clearly marked as student-led. To be considered student-led the following conditions must be met:
    1. The project was led by a student enrolled in a university
    2. The project is not coming out of a corporation, government lab, or FFRDC

What to Present

All entries will send at least one team member to SBP-BRiMS 2020 who will be registered for the conference by the early registration deadline to represent their entry. The winning entry will give a short talk on the last day of the conference. This will be a 12 minute talk with 3 minutes for questions.

How entries will be judged

Entries will be judged by community voting at the poster session.

Who is eligible

Anyone with an interest in using this data to address a social or policy issue. Entries are accepted from single individuals or teams.

Suggestion: Participants may want to use Jupyter to demonstrate their code and results. Examples can be found here, Sample Jupyter Notebooks.

Winning Entry

The final paper for the winning entry, for each of the two challenges, will be published in the journal Computational and Mathematical Organization Theory – in the SBP-BRiMS 2020 special issue.

A member of the team that developed the winning entry will do a short presentation on either Thursday or Friday at the conference describing the response.

Challenge Committee

  • Kathleen M. Carley
  • Ayaz Hyder

Submit Questions Regarding Challenge

All questions and concerns can be sent to

2018 Challenge Winners and Runners Up

2018 Disinformation Challenge Winner: "FakeNewsTracker: Towards Fake News Collection, Detection, and Visualization" by Kai Shu, Deepak Mahudeswaran and Huan Liu

2018 Opioids Challenge Winner: "Using Synthetic Populations to Understand Geospatial Patterns in Opioid Related Overdose and Predicted Opioid Misuse" by Savannah Bates, Vasiliy Leonenko, James Rineer and Georgiy Bobashev