Section: Application Domains

Network Science / Complex networks

In the last ten years the science of complex networks has been assigned an increasingly relevant role in defining a conceptual framework for the analysis of complex systems. Network science is concerned with graphs that map entities and their interactions to nodes and links. For a long time, this mathematical abstraction has contributed to the understanding of real-world systems in physics, computer science, biology, chemistry, social sciences, and economics. Recently, however, enormous amounts of detailed data, electronically collected and meticulously catalogued, have finally become available for scientific analysis and study. This has led to the discovery that most networks describing real world systems show the presence of complex properties and heterogeneities, which cannot be neglected in their topological and dynamical description. This has called forth a major effort in developing the methodology to characterise the topology and temporal behaviour of complex networks, to describe the observed structural and temporal heterogeneities, to detect and measure emerging community structure, to see how the functionality of networks determines their evolving structure, and to determine what kinds of correlations play a role in their dynamics. All these efforts have brought us to a point where the science of complex networks has become advanced enough to help us to disclose the deeper roles of complexity and gain understanding about the behaviour of very complicated systems.

In this endeavour the DANTE project targets the study of dynamically evolving networks, concentrating on questions about the evolving structure and dynamical processes taking place on them. During the last year we developed developed several projects along these lines concerning three major datasets:

  • Mobile telephony data: In projects with academic partners and Grandata we performed projects based on two large independent datasets collecting the telephone call and SMS event records for million of anonymised individuals. The datasets record the time and duration of mobile phone interactions and some coarse grained location and demographic data for some users. In addition one of the dataset is coupled with anonymised bank credit information allowing us to study directly the socioeconomic structure of a society and how it determines the communication dynamics and structure of individuals.

  • Skype data: Together with Skype Labs/STACC and other academic groups we were leading projects in the subject of social spreading phenomena. These projects were based on observations taken from a temporally detailed description of the evolving social network of (anonymised) Skype users registered between 2003 and 2011. This data contains dates of registration and link creation together with gradual information about their location and service usage dynamics.

  • Twitter data: In collaboration with ICAR-ENS Lyon we collected a large dataset about the microblogs and communications of millions of Twitter users in the French Twitter space. This data allows us to follow the spreading of fads/opinions/hashtags/ideas and more importantly linguistic features in online communities. The aim of this collaboration is to set the ground for a quantitative framework studying the evolution of linguistic features and dialects in an social-communication space mediated by online social interactions.