Thesis: Structure and Evolution of Weighted Networks

I have now completed my Ph.D. at the School of Business and Management of Queen Mary College, University of London. My Ph.D. programme was defined around a number of projects, which drew on, and extended, recent theoretical and methodological advances in network science. The projects that were concerned with weighted networks and longitudinal networks were outlined and critically discussed in my thesis (Structure and Evolution of Weighted Networks). The entire thesis, except Appendix C which is outdated, is available on the Publication > Thesis-page.

Acknowledgements

The theme of this thesis is interdependence among elements. In fact, this thesis is not just a product of myself, but also of my interdependence with others. Without the support of a number of people, it would not have been possible to write. It is my pleasure to have the opportunity to express my gratitude to many of them here.

For my academic achievements, I would like to acknowledge the constant support from my supervisors. In particular, I thank Pietro Panzarasa for taking an active part of all the projects I have worked on. I have also had the pleasure to collaborate with people other than my supervisors. I worked with Vittoria Colizza and Jose J. Ramasco on the analysis and method presented in Chapter 2, Kathleen M. Carley on an empirical analysis of the online social network used throughout this thesis, and Martha J. Prevezer on a project related to knowledge transfer in emerging countries. In addition to these direct collaborations, I would also like to thank Filip Agneessens, Sinan Aral, Steve Borgatti, Ronald Burt, Mauro Faccioni Filho, Thomas Friemel, John Skvoretz, and Vanina Torlo for encouragement and helpful advice. In particular, I would like to thank Tom A. B. Snijders and Klaus Nielsen for insightful reading of this thesis and many productive remarks and suggestions. I have also received feedback on my work at a number of conferences and workshops. I would like to express my gratitude to the participants at these.

On a social note, I would like to thank John, Claudius, and my family for their continuing support. Without them I would have lost focus. My peers and the administrative staff have also been a great source of support. In particular, I would like to extend my acknowledgements to Mariusz Jarmuzek, Geraldine Marks, Roland Miller, Jenny Murphy, Cathrine Seierstad, Lorna Soar, Steven Telford, and Eshref Trushin.

May 15, 2009 at 12:00 am

Projecting two-mode networks onto weighted one-mode networks

Projection of binary and weighted two-mode networks onto one-mode weighted networksThis post highlights a number of methods for projecting both binary and weighted two-mode networks (also known as affiliation or bipartite networks) onto weighted one-mode networks. Although I would prefer to analyse two-mode networks in their original form, few methods exist for that purpose. These networks can be transformed into one-mode networks by projecting them (i.e., selecting one set of nodes, and linking two nodes if they are connected to the same node of the other set). Traditionally, ties in the one-mode networks are without weights. By carefully considering multiple ways of projecting two-mode networks onto weighted one-mode networks, we can maintain some of the richness contained within the two-mode structure. This enables researchers to conduct a deeper analysis than if the two-mode structure was completely ignored.

The content of this post has been integrated in the tnet manual, see Projecting Two-mode Networks.

May 1, 2009 at 12:00 am 5 comments

Are triangles made up by strong ties?

Are strong ties embedded?A key assumption of Granovetter’s (1973) Strength of Weak Ties theory is that strong ties are embedded by being part of triangles, whereas weak ties are not embedded by being created towards disconnected nodes. This assumption have been tested by calculating the traditional clustering coefficient on binary networks created with increasing cut-off parameters (i.e., creating a series of binary networks from a weighted network where ties with a weight greater than a cut-off parameter is set to present and the rest removed). Contrarily to theories of strong ties and embeddedness, these methods generally showed that the clustering coefficient decreased as the cut-off parameter increased. However, the binary networks were not comparable with each other as they had a different number of ties. Another way of testing this assumption is to take the ratio between the weighted global clustering coefficient and the traditional coefficient measured on networks where all ties are considered present. Thus, the number of ties is maintained. This post highlights this feature and empirically tests it on a number of publically available weighted network datasets.

The content of this post has been integrated in the tnet manual, see Clustering.

April 17, 2009 at 12:00 am

Article: Clustering in Weighted Networks

TripletA paper called “Clustering in Weighted Networks” that I have co-authored will be published in Social Networks. Although many social network measures exist for binary networks and many theories differentiate between strong and weak ties, few measures have been generalised so that they can be applied to weighted networks and retain the information encoded in the weights of ties. One of these measures is the global clustering coefficient, which measures embeddedness or, more specifically, the likelihood of a triplet being closed by a tie so that it forms a triangle. This article proposes a generalisation of this key network measure to weighted networks.

Continue Reading April 3, 2009 at 12:00 am 7 comments

The importance of allowing ties to decay

Evolving networkRecently, a number of network dataset have been constructed from archival data (e.g., email logs) with the aim to study human interaction. This has allowed researchers to study large-scale social networks. If the archival data does not included information about the severing or weakening of ties, non-relevant interaction among people, which occurred far in the past, might be deemed relevant. This post highlights this issue and suggests imposing a lifespan on interactions to record only relevant ties with the current strength.

The content of this post has been integrated in the tnet manual, see Sliding Window.

March 20, 2009 at 12:00 am

Article: Patterns and Dynamics of Users’ Behaviour and Interaction: Network Analysis of an Online Community

Online Social NetworkA paper called “Patterns and Dynamics of Users’ Behaviour and Interaction: Network Analysis of an Online Community” that I have co-authored will be published in the Journal of the American Society for Information Science and Technology (JASIST). In this paper, we studied the evolution of a variety of properties in an online community, including how users create, reciprocate, and deepen relationships with one another, variations in users’ gregariousness and popularity, reachability and typical distances among users, and the degree of local redundancy in the community.

Continue Reading March 6, 2009 at 12:00 am 2 comments

Betweenness in weighted networks

Betweenness exampleThis post highlights a generalisation of Freeman’s (1978) betweenness measure to weighted networks implicitly introduced by Brandes (2001) when he developed an algorithm for calculating betweenness faster. Betweenness is a measure of the extent to which a node funnels transactions among all the other nodes in the network. By funnelling the transactions, a node can broker. This could be by taking a cut (e.g. Ukraine controls most gas pipelines from Russia to Europe) or distorting the information being transmitted to its advantage.

The content of this post has been integrated in the tnet manual, see Node Centrality in Weighted Networks.

February 20, 2009 at 12:00 am 6 comments

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