2021 RFP on agent-based user interaction simulation to find and fix integrity and privacy issues

Funding Agency:

Facebook is developing a cyber-cyber digital twin of its social media platform called WW. WW is a Web Enabled Simulation (WES), in which user communities and their interactions and behaviours are simulated using machine learning, while the real platform infrastructure is both directly executed by the simulation and also is, itself, simulated in various off-line and synthetic versions. Technical details concerning the development and deployment of WW can be found in the GI 2020 keynote paper and the ICSE 2021 SEIP paper.

In this call, we are particularly interested in research work that tackles the scientific and technical challenges we face in developing and deploying Web Enabled Simulation and that could also lead to longer and deeper collaboration between partners from the academic research community and our WW project team. More details, including open research problems and challenges we hope to tackle in partnership with the scientific community, can be found in our keynote position paper at the 25th International Conference on Evaluation and Assessment in Software Engineering (EASE 2021).

We believe research in a number of areas may make valuable contributions to the web enabled simulation agenda, including, but not limited to, research on Multi Agent Systems, Search Based Software Engineering, Social Software Testing Verification and Validation, Predictive Systems, Machine Learning, Multi Objective Search, AI Assisted Game Play, Automated Mechanism Design, Co-evolutionary Mechanism Learning, End User Realism, Synthetic Graph Generation, and Game Theory.

In the past year since the previous research award opportunity, our technical work has focused on three key aspects:

  • Testing, verification, and validation of simulation outcomes
  • Scaling simulation using a hierarchy of simulation modes (online, off-line, and synthetic)
  • Modelling typical and abnormal user and community of behaviours and construction of realistic yet synthetic artificial worlds in which realistic simulations can take place

We have made progress on scalability and social- and simulation- based testing using metamorphic and regression testing, and have published emerging results on these topics.

To foster further innovation in this area, and to deepen our collaboration with academia, Facebook is pleased to invite faculty to respond to this call for research proposals pertaining to the aforementioned topics. We anticipate awarding four to five awards up to $100,000 each. Payment will be made to the proposer’s host university as an unrestricted gift.

Deadline: July 7, 2021

Agency Website

Eligibility Requirements

  • Proposals must comply with applicable U.S. and international laws, regulations, and policies.
  • Applicants must be current full-time faculty at an accredited academic institution that awards research degrees to PhD students.
  • Applicants must be the Principal Investigator on any resulting award.
  • Facebook cannot consider proposals submitted, prepared or to be carried out by individuals residing in, or affiliated with an academic institution located in, a country or territory subject to comprehensive U.S. trade sanctions.
  • Government officials (excluding faculty and staff of public universities, to the extent they may be considered government officials), political figures, and politically affiliated businesses (all as determined by Facebook in its sole discretion) are not eligible.



Funding Type





Engineering and Physical Sciences

External Deadline

July 7, 2021