Date of Graduation

12-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Computer Science (MS)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

Computer Science & Computer Engineering

Advisor

Susan E. Gauch

Committee Member

Craig W. Thompson

Second Committee Member

John M. Gauch

Keywords

Communications and the arts; Applied sciences; Graph algorithms; Online social networks; Virtual reality

Abstract

As three-dimensional virtual environments become both more prevalent and more fragmented, studying how users are connected via their avatars and how they benefit from the virtual world community has become a significant area of research. An in-depth analysis of virtual world Social networks is needed to evaluate how users interact in virtual worlds, to better understand the impact of avatar Social networks on the virtual worlds, and to improve future online Social networks.

Our current efforts are focused on building and exploring the Social network aspects of virtual worlds. In this thesis, we build a Social network of avatars based on their interaction in the Second Life virtual world and compare it to other Social networking sites found on the web. Experimental results with data crawled from Second Life virtual worlds demonstrate that our approach was able to build a representative network of avatars in a virtual world from the sample data. The analysis comparison between virtual world Social networks and others in the flat web allows us to gauge measures that better explore the relationship between locations linked by multiple users and their avatars. Using this comparison, we can also determine if techniques of personalized search and content recommendation are feasible for virtual world environments.

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