Network models may be applied to describe many complex systems, and in the era of online social networks the study of dynamics on networks is an important branch of computational social science. Cascade dynamics can occur when the state of a node is affected by the states of its neighbours in the network, for example when a Twitter user is inspired to retweet a message that she received from a user she follows, with one event (the retweet) potentially causing further events (retweets by followers of followers) in a chain reaction. In this talk I will review some simple models that can help us understand how social contagion (the spread of cultural fads and the viral diffusion of information) depends upon the structure of the social network and on the dynamics of human behaviour. Although the models are simple enough to allow for mathematical analysis, I will show examples where they can also provide good matches to empirical observations of cascades on social networks.
- Industrial and Applied Mathematics Seminar