Wow. With all those superlatives in use for reason 1 and reason 2, I’m beginning to worry that the excitement of those posts might have the whole set of “Reasons to go to NetSci” posts peaking too soon. But we have so many good reasons to go - and only a few days left before the call for papers closes (last day is March 15th), so there’s no turning back now. (If you think Jony Ive was laying it on think in all those apple ads wait till you’ve read all of these nine reasons.)
Reason 3: Brand new types of contributed talks
Ignite Session: While the traditional parallel sessions are great, sometimes you just want a bigger audience … to be heard by the entire NetSci audience. Well, this year we’ve added a new element, a session of Ignite talks, which will allow many more of you to reach everyone at NetSci.
The basic idea of the Ignite format is that presenters focus on the central idea/result driving their research using 20 slides that auto-advance every 15 seconds for a total of just five minutes. Getting through 20 slides in 15 minutes requires practice and creative thinking, but also results in quick, enlightening talks designed to draw out the essence of a topic. Finally, the Ignite event will be open to the public, so we expect a large audience with lots of visitors for Friday afternoon.
Young researchers session: In addition to the Erdös-Renyi Prize (read more about that here), NetSci also has a prize to the best young (postdoc or graduate student) speaker. This year we’ll pre-select six candidates for that prize who will present their work to the full NetSci audience in the main room, in a special 10 min format. We hope that this will allow the work of these promising young researchers to be seen by as many people as possible – and inspire the young researchers to give great talks.
Dont forget to check out the other posts in this series
And stay tuned for more good reasons.
Following up on past promises, here’s reason two that I think NetSci 2013 is going to excellent.
Reason 2: The NetSci School
This year, the NetSci school is going to be something special. So even if you’re not yet a bona fide network science insider who’s wise to inside jokes about Zachary’s Karate Club, NetSci 2013 is going to be a great conference to visit – a great place to learn about networks and network analysis.
Great school lecturers: First of all, the big man – godfather of netsci – László Barabási himself will teach at the school, taking his amazing (and free) new textbook about network science on the road. Also teaching at the school: monsieur Renaud Lambiotte and sensei Naoki Masuda who’ll be address the sizzling hot topics of multiplexity and dynamics in complex networks
Update your programming skills: Secondly, we’ve included tutorials on some of the programming languages and visualization tools most important to network science. So even if you’re a seasoned researcher, the school will have something for you. And to put it humbly, I think we’ve managed to get the best of the best:
- Aric Hagberg will talk about NetworkX. NetworkX is a Python language software package for the creation, manipulation, and study of the structure, dynamics, and functions of complex networks. Besides being Deputy Director for the theoretical division of the Center for Nonlinear Studies at LANL, Aric is the primary developer of NetworkX, so we’re in for a treat.
- Sébastien Heymann will lead the tutorial on Gephi, an open source interactive visualization and exploration software for complex networks. Sébastien is a leader of the Gephi project and the administrator of the Gephi Consortium. He will include coverage of the newest version’s ability to analyze and visualize evolving networks, so that one shouldn’t be missed.
- Finally, Charles Pooh will address the new Network Science tools in Wolfram Research‘s Mathematica. Charles is is a senior kernel developer at Wolfram and in charge of the graph theory package (among other things) in Mathematica. Mathematica’s tools for networks have received a major upgrade in the past few years, so Charles’ tutorial is sure to blow a mind or two.
I’m a huge fan of everything above, so I couldn’t be more excited for everyone to experience the school.
Reason 2.1: The school venue
We’ll have the school at DTU, the Technical University of Denmark. in the Oticon Hall, see below.
As you might be able to make out, that’s another great venue – and has the added benefit of being right next to the satellite workshops. The fact that everything is in one place means that you’ll be able to move back and forth between the school and satellites – and we hope that this will make the first two days of the conference will feel like a truly integrated part of the conference (with everyone being able to grab lunch in the same area, etc). So don’t wait – go and register right now.
And don’t forget to check out part one of this series.
Ok, so this June we’re having the NetSci conference right here in Copenhagen. Registration is now open and the call for paper closes on March 15th. So in these last few days leading up to that deadline, I’m going to list some of what I think are the main reasons that you should dust off your danish phrase books, submit your most exciting work, and head right over to your favorite online travel agent to book a ticket to go to NetSci this year!
Reason 1: The venue
This year’s venue is simply spectacular. It’s the kind of place that makes you feel like a better person just for showing up. The architecture of the Danish Royal Library (where we’re having the conference) is breathtaking, and you’ll be surrounded by (to mention a couple of random examples) original handwritten Kierkegaard manuscripts and Bohr’s notes and journals.
To provide you all with a sense of how amazing this space is going to be, I’ve included a few photos:
And the interior is spectacular as well:
And the venue is, of course, just the beginning – we have many more pleasant surprises planned. Stay tuned for Reason 2.
IMAGE CREDITS (IN ORDER OF APPEARANCE):
Earlier this year, I was lucky enough to be awarded a Villum Foundation Young Investigator grant. A couple of days ago the Foundation’s Annual Report came out [dk link, en link. note: this is a 10mb download], with a very nice cover that features graphics designed by yours truly.
The cover art was created by the Danish artist Smike Käszner based on my graphics. Just for fun, I’ve included the original figures below. Here’s the main network:
As far as I can tell, the graphic that appears in Smike’s artwork is a mirror image of the communication network at 20:00. I’m not 100 percent sure, but I think the background hairball was lifted from the figure below (even though I can’t see the self-loop in the cover art anywhere in my network).
Inside the report (p 65), there’s a nice feature on my project.
Slowly but surely NetSci 2013 is coming to life! We’re now ready with the official call for satellite workshops. If you have an idea, don’t hesitate to send it to Philipp – we’re in the process of securing a great venue for the workshops, close to the NetSci school. Come to think of it, I think I might try to set up a workshop of my own! Keep an eye on the blog for more details.
Another great guest is visiting my group this week: Conrad Lee. Conrad has been writing consistently superb blog posts over at http://sociograph.blogspot.com for quite a while now (I highly recommend checking out his back catalog, which contains insightful analysis of issues related to community detection in complex networks and much more). And he’s interested in many of the same topics that I’ve worked on for years, so there should be lots of great discussions.
Tomorrow, he’ll be speaking on methods for validating community detection algorithms using meta-data in the talk: Are network communities good for nothing? Benchmarking algorithms with inference tasks. With abstract hinting at a very interesting talk (and containing wildlife simile):
While community detection algorithms proliferate like rabbits in the spring, relatively little work has gone into determining which methods work best. In many cases, we know only that a given method can partition Zachary’s Karate club – a problem which was solved over thirty years ago. Furthermore, the small literature concerned with benchmarking these algorithms focuses on synthetic data, leaving us with little evidence to support the claim that we can find meaningful communities in non-trivial, real-world social network data. We know so little about the performance of these algorithms because on the one hand we have a poor a priori intuition of how network communities are actually structured, and on the other hand we lack datasets that have a “ground truth” set of communities.
In this presentation, I argue that the quality of network communities can be evaluated by measuring how well they allow inference of missing information, such as certain node attributes and missing links. More concretely, good network communities should provide a machine learning model with informative features. I will discuss some conceptual and practical difficulties which came up when implementing a benchmark based on this premise using the Facebook100 dataset. Early results indicate that all tested methods have a bias for a particular scale, a finding which suggests that a scaling parameter is necessary. For example, modularity maximization and the Map Equation perform poorly, even when using the hierarchical versions of these methods. Their performance improved only when using their generalized formulations, which include a scaling parameter that alters the underlying objective function.
I highly recommend stopping by if you’re in the area! Time and place are listed here.
This week, we have another exciting guest, Bruno Gonçalves (twitter: @bgoncalves) will be visiting the lab Monday 24th of September, and Tuesday the 25th. Bruno has just moved to the university at Aix-Marseille University, from Alex Vespignani’s group at Northeastern and we’re excited to have him.
Bruno is giving a talk Monday at 11 – I highly recommend it:
Title: From Individual Activity to Collective Attention – Insights from Large Scale Social Network Analysis
Abstract: Modern social systems such as Twitter expose digital traces of social discourse with an unprecedented degree of resolution of individual behaviors. They offer an opportunity to investigate both individual and collective behavioral patterns and to disentangle the temporal, spatial and topical aspects of human activity.
A large survey of online exchanges or conversations on Twitter, collected across six months involving 1.7 million individuals is used to study how individuals manage their social relations. Two main features are observed:
1. Social interaction strength is highly dependent of the number of connections, corroborating Dunbar’s Social Brain theory. A simple model shows how limited individual capacity for social interaction is enough to qualitatively reproduce the features observed.
2. Users display extremely diverse activity levels that follow a broad tailed distribution. We construct an activity driven model that is capable of encoding the instantaneous time description of social network dynamics. Within this framework, highly dynamical networks can be described analytically, providing a powerful tool for the analysis of social phenomena occurring over time-varying networks.
Finally, we focus on Twitter activity surrounding American Idol voting as minimal and simplified version of complex societal phenomena such as political elections, and show that the volume of information available in online systems permits the real time gathering of quantitative indicators anticipating the future unfolding of opinion formation events.
Time & place:
Monday 24 September at 11:00-12:00
Building 305, Seminar room 053