Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

From football conferences to food webs: U-M researcher uncovers patterns in complicated networks

16.02.2004


The world is full of complicated networks that scientists would like to better understand---human social systems, for example, or food webs in nature. But discerning patterns of organization in such vast, complex systems is no easy task.



"The structure of those networks can tell you quite a lot about how the systems work, but they’re far too big to analyze by just putting dots on a piece of paper and drawing lines to connect them," said Mark Newman, an assistant professor of physics and complex systems at the University of Michigan.

One challenge in making sense of a large network is finding clumps---or communities---of members that have something in common, such as Web pages that are all about the same topic, people that socialize together or animals that eat the same kind of food. Newman and collaborator Michelle Girvan, a postdoctoral fellow at the Santa Fe Institute in Santa Fe, New Mexico, have developed a new method for finding communities that reveals a lot about the structure of large, complex networks. Newman will discuss the method and its applications Feb. 15 at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Seattle.


"The way most people have approached the problem is to look for the clumps themselves---to look for things that are joined together strongly," said Newman. "We decided to approach it from the other end," by searching out and then eliminating the links that join clumps together. "When we remove those from the network, what we’re left with is the clumps."

The researchers tested their method on several networks for which the structure was already known---college football conferences, for example. In college football, teams in the same conference face off more frequently than teams in different conferences. When inter-conference games do occur, they’re more likely to be between teams that are geographically close together than between teams that are far apart. Plugging in information on frequency of games between pairs of teams in the 2000 regular season, Newman and Girvan tested their method to see if it could correctly sort the colleges into conferences. "There were a few cases where it made mistakes, but it got well over 90 percent of them right," said Newman. "It gave us the structure we were expecting, so that was encouraging."

Newman and Girvan---and other researchers who’ve learned about their work---have gone on to apply the technique to systems where the structure is not as well understood, looking at everything from networks of Spanish language web logs to communities of early jazz musicians to a food web of marine organisms living in Chesapeake Bay.

"Networks and other systems that we study are becoming increasingly large and complicated these days," said Newman. "New methods like this help us to make sense of what we see and to understand better how things work."

Nancy Ross-Flanigan | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~mejn/
http://www.aaas.org/
http://www.santafe.edu/

More articles from Communications Media:

nachricht On patrol in social networks
25.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Arbeitswirtschaft und Organisation IAO

nachricht Tile Based DASH Streaming for Virtual Reality with HEVC from Fraunhofer HHI
03.01.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Nachrichtentechnik Heinrich-Hertz-Institut

All articles from Communications Media >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Argon is not the 'dope' for metallic hydrogen

24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences

Astronomers find unexpected, dust-obscured star formation in distant galaxy

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Gravitational wave kicks monster black hole out of galactic core

24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>