Section: Overall Objectives

Overall Objectives

The goal of DANTE is to develop novel models, algorithms and methods to analyse the dynamics of large-scale networks, (e.g. social networks, technological networks such as the Web and hyperlinks, Articles and co-citation, email exchanges, economic relations, bacteria/virus propagation in human networks...). Large datasets describing such networks are nowadays more "accessible" due to the emergence of online activities and new techniques of data collection. These advantages provide us an unprecedented avalanche of large data sets, recording the digital footprints of millions of entities (e.g. individuals, computers, documents, stocks, etc.) and their temporal interactions (YouTube claims to receive 48 hours of video every minute, Google and Facebook represent major world companies that generate millions of traces on our activities every second. Every day, hundreds of millions of posts are added to the blogosphere, from which information on citizen opinions and their evolutions can be collected.). Such large amount of information allows for easier and more precise traceability of social activities, better observation of the structural and temporal evolution of social/technological/economical networks, the emergence of their localized and cascading failures, and provides information about the general roles of self-organization in an interdisciplinary sense. All these questions represent a major scientific, economic, and social challenge, which has the potential to revolutionize our understanding of the arising socio-technical world of our age.

Our main challenge is to propose generic methodologies and concepts to develop relevant formal tools to model, analyse the dynamics and evolution of such networks, that is, to formalise the dynamic properties of both structural and temporal interactions of network entities/relations:

  • Ask application domains relevant questions, to learn something new about such domains instead of merely playing with powerful computers on huge data sets.

  • Access and collect data with adapted and efficient tools. This includes a reflexive step on the biases of the data collected and their relations to real activities/application domain.

  • Model the dynamics of networks by analyzing their structural and temporal properties jointly, inventing original approaches combining graph theory with signal processing. A key point is to capture temporal features in the data, which may reveal meaningful insights on the evolution of the networks.

  • Interpret the results, make the knowledge robust and useful in order to be able to control, optimise and (re)-act on the network structure itself and on the protocols exchange/interactions in order to obtain a better performance of the global system.

The challenge is to solve a major scientific puzzle, common to several application domains (e.g., sociology, information technology, epidemiology) and central in network science: how to understand the causality between the evolution of macro-structures and individuals, at local and global scales?