MACRO Social Experiment

The MACRO experiment was deployed at the MACRO Museum in Rome during the NEON exhibition opening held the 20th of June 2012. It lasted around 2.5 hours and involved 114 visitors.

We asked each of 114 participants to wear an active OpenBeacon RFID tags that periodically sent information about the approximate location of the wearing person and its social interactions (e.g., how long a visitor looked at an artwork or talked to another person). An example information we got can be tag 1274 met tag 1055 near artwork alpha, or tag 1143 is close to artwork beta.

Also, we stored additional information for each person participating to the experiment and the exhibition, which was the following:

– Age
– Sex
– Education level
– Professional area
– Nationality (Italy or other)
– Alone or in a group

This only allowed us to observe how people clustered; no other information was needed. Also, we didn’t store anything about their identity, such as name or ID. It should be clear that from this generic information it’s not possible to identify who is the owner of a specific tag.

Messages sent by tags were collected by OpenBeacon RFID readers and forwarded through the ethernet to a central collector server, where data were processed offline. At the end of the experiment we collected about 10 MB of data log; then we parsed them to analyze the relationships among visitors and understand their sociability.

In order to represent and visualize our graph, we used Gephi. The following figure depicts social interactions among visitors during our social experiment.

We built two GEXF graphs by using our gexf4j library. One graph shows only interactions among visitors, while the other one among visitors and artworks. Size and color of a node shows the number of neighbors for each individual (i.e., its degree), while thickness of an edge tell us how long two individuals interacted. Specifically, yellow and small nodes have few relationships with others, while red and big nodes are very sociable students.

If you use this data set, please use the following citation and link this page in your work:

Luca Becchetti, Lorenzo Bergamini, Francesco Ficarola, and Andrea Vitaletti. 2012. Population protocols on real social networks. In Proceedings of the 9th ACM symposium on Performance evaluation of wireless ad hoc, sensor, and ubiquitous networks (PE-WASUN ’12). ACM, New York, NY, USA, 17-24. DOI=10.1145/2387027.2387031

Below you can find all data collected by the experiment. GEXF, DNF and other output graph formats can be obtained by using OpenBeaconParser, a software I’ve developed to parse raw data log. OpenBeaconParser can be downloaded by everyone and you can also obtain other kinds of formats (please consult the README file and the software help).

Social graph (vector, pdf)
Raw data log
SQL database (mysql)
Aggregated visitors graph (gexf)
Aggregated artworks and visitors graph (gexf)
Dynamic graph with SQL data (dnf)
Dynamic graph with SQL data (json)

<<< DOWNLOAD ALL FILES (tar.bz2) >>>

In the raw data log you can find two kinds of packets: S or C. S packets are related to sightings, namely when an individual is close to a RFID reader, while C packets are interactions. In both packets the common fields are:

t : timestamp
ip : reader IP in HEX
id : tag ID who sent the packet
seq : a unique sequence number for each packet

Additionally, C packets include a target node ID who was in the interaction. For instance, in the string [1119(1) #1] the target node ID is 1119. All other fields are for debugging.

If you like observing what are the interactions among participants over time in a nice live application, please click on the following image and enjoy a sort of “impressionism”.

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