And the winner is…

May 24, 2012

UPDATE: It looks like our guys were right! Last night, Phillip Phillips was crowned the 2012 Amer­ican Idol winner. According to the US twitter data, that’s exactly what Stern­berg Dis­tin­guished Pro­fessor Alessandro Vespig­nani and his team over at Northeastern’s MoBS-​​lab predicted.

This means a couple of things:

1) Appar­ently inter­na­tional voting isn’t as much of a problem as I was starting to think. If the inter­na­tional data had been counted, Jes­sica would have won.

2) Per­haps more impor­tantly, the straight­for­ward simple method used by the MoBS lab to pre­dict voting out­comes was robust enough to make an accu­rate pre­dic­tion about a straight­for­ward elec­tion. We can all breathe a sigh of relief now that we know our net­work sci­en­tists aren’t out of their day jobs. The method they use for Amer­ican Idol pro­vides a frame­work on which they can improve to make more impor­tant pre­dic­tions in the future.


May 23, 2012

Well, kids. It’s here — the moment you’ve all been waiting for. Vespig­nani and team have spent their morning ana­lyzing all the #idol twitter activity between 10pm last night and 5am this morning and have come up with a prediction…and a caveat.

Looking exclu­sively at US-​​based tweets, Phillip is our man, but only by a small margin:

But as the team explain in their article, there’s quite a bit of inter­na­tional Twitter activity during the voting period, despite the fact that votes are only sup­posed to come from US res­i­dents. There are plenty of loop­holes, how­ever, and in past sim­u­la­tions, the team has had more accu­rate pre­dic­tions when they include the inter­na­tional data. Which last night looked like this:

So, what does this mean for the actual winner? I guess you’ll still have to tune in tonight to find out. But if Jes­sica wins, it might be a sign that inter­na­tional voting is a bigger issue than people may have known.

Did you vote and/​or tweet last night? Who do you think will win?

If you’re in Cal­i­fornia, Michigan or Mary­land, chances are you’d answer that ques­tion with “Jes­sica.” Most other parts of the country? Phillip: