Networks seminar

Welcome to the homepage of the Networks seminars, a weekly seminar series on networks, complex systems, and related topics held in the Mathematical Institute. 

The Networks seminars usually take place on Tuesdays at 12:00-13:00 in C1 in the Maths Institute.
A full schedule of the upcoming talks can be found below.

To sign up to our mailing list simply send an empty email to the following address:
oxford_networks_seminar-subscribe@maillist.ox.ac.uk

If you would like to give a presentation at our seminar, please do not hesitate to contact the organisers Karel Devriendt or Rodrigo Leal Cervantes. The presentation can be either about your own work or on some (recent) interesting article on networks or on complex systems in general.

We also have a webpage on the CABDyN website, but sadly this is no longer maintained.

Upcoming Seminars

7 November 2017
12:00
Roxana Pamfil
Abstract

Identifying clusters or "communities" of densely connected nodes in networks is an active area of research, with relevance to many applications. Recent advances in the field have focused especially on temporal, multiplex, and other kinds of multilayer networks.

One method for detecting communities in multilayer networks is to maximise a generalised version of an objective function known as modularity. Writing down multilayer modularity requires the specification of two types of resolution parameters, and choosing appropriate values is crucial for uncovering meaningful community structure. In the simplest case, there are just two parameters, one controlling the sizes of detected communities, and the other influencing how much communities change from layer to layer. By establishing an equivalence between modularity optimisation and a multilayer maximum-likelihood approach to community detection, we are able to determine statistically optimal values for these two parameters. 

When applied to existing multilayer benchmarks, our optimized approach performs significantly better than using parameter choices guided by heuristics. We also apply the method to supermarket data, revealing changes in consumer behaviour over time.

14 November 2017
12:00
Andrew Mellor
Abstract

Temporal networks are increasingly being used to model the interactions of complex systems. 
Most studies require the temporal aggregation of edges (or events) into discrete time steps to perform analysis.
In this article we describe a static, behavioural representation of a temporal network, the temporal event graph (TEG).
The TEG describes the temporal network in terms of both inter-event time and two-event temporal motifs.
By considering the distributions of these quantities in unison we provide a new method to characterise the behaviour of individuals and collectives in temporal networks as well as providing a natural decomposition of the network.
We illustrate the utility of the TEG by providing examples on both synthetic and real temporal networks.

21 November 2017
12:00
Abstract

A great deal of effort has gone into trying to model social influence --- including the spread of behavior, norms, and ideas --- on networks. Most models of social influence tend to assume that individuals react to changes in the states of their neighbors without any time delay, but this is often not true in social contexts, where (for various reasons) different agents can have different response times. To examine such situations, we introduce the idea of a timer into threshold models of social influence. The presence of timers on nodes delays the adoption --- i.e., change of state --- of each agent, which in turn delays the adoptions of its neighbors. With a homogeneous-distributed timer, in which all nodes exhibit the same amount of delay, adoption delays are also homogeneous, so the adoption order of nodes remains the same. However, heterogeneously-distributed timers can change the adoption order of nodes and hence the "adoption paths" through which state changes spread in a network. Using a threshold model of social contagions, we illustrate that heterogeneous timers can either accelerate or decelerate the spread of adoptions compared to an analogous situation with homogeneous timers, and we investigate the relationship of such acceleration or deceleration with respect to timer distribution and network structure. We derive an analytical approximation for the temporal evolution of the fraction of adopters by modifying a pair approximation of the Watts threshold model, and we find good agreement with numerical computations. We also examine our new timer model on networks constructed from empirical data.

Link to arxiv paper: https://arxiv.org/abs/1706.04252

28 November 2017
12:00
Maria del Rio Chanona
Abstract

Current technological progress has raised concerns about automation of tasks performed by workers resulting in job losses. Previous studies have used machine learning techniques to compute the automation probability of occupations and thus, studied the impact of automation on employment. However, such studies do not consider second-order effects, for example, an occupation with low automation probability can have a  surplus of labor supply due to similar occupations being automated. In this work, we study such second-order effects of automation using a network approach.  In our network – the Job Space – occupations are nodes and edges link occupations which share a significant amount of work activities. By mapping employment, automation probabilities into the network, and considering the movement of workers, we show that an occupation’s position in the network may be crucial to determining its employment future.

 

16 January 2018
12:00
Andrew Mellor
Abstract

Many studies of digital communication, in particular of Twitter, use natural language processing (NLP) to find topics, assess sentiment, and describe user behaviour.
In finding topics often the relationships between users who participate in the topic are neglected.
We propose a novel method of describing and classifying online conversations using only the structure of the underlying temporal network and not the content of individual messages.
This method utilises all available information in the temporal network (no aggregation), combining both topological and temporal structure using temporal motifs and inter-event times.
This allows us to describe the behaviour of individuals and collectives over time and examine the structure of conversation over multiple timescales.
 

23 January 2018
12:00
Anton Pichler
Abstract

Systemic risk arises as a multi-layer network phenomenon. Layers represent direct financial exposures of various types, including interbank liabilities, derivative or foreign exchange exposures. Another network layer of systemic risk emerges through common asset holdings of financial institutions. Strongly overlapping portfolios lead to similar exposures that are caused by price movements of the underlying financial assets. Based on the knowledge of portfolio holdings of financial agents we quantify systemic risk of overlapping portfolios. We present an optimization procedure, where we minimize the systemic risk in a given financial market by optimally rearranging overlapping portfolio networks, under the constraints that the expected returns and risks of the individual portfolios are unchanged. We explicitly demonstrate the power of the method on the overlapping portfolio network of sovereign exposure between major European banks by using data from the European Banking Authority stress test of 2016. We show that systemic-risk-efficient allocations are accessible by the optimization. In the case of sovereign exposure, systemic risk can be reduced by more than a factor of two, without any detrimental effects for the individual banks. These results are confirmed by a simple simulation of fire sales in the government bond market. In particular we show that the contagion probability is reduced dramatically in the optimized network.
 

30 January 2018
12:00
Pablo Aragón
Abstract


Online discussions are the essence of many social platforms on the Internet. Discussion platforms are receiving increasing interest because of their potential to become deliberative spaces. Although previous studies have proposed approaches to measure online deliberation using the complexity of discussion networks as a proxy, little research has focused on how these networks are affected by changes of platform features.

In this talk, we will focus on how interfaces might influence the network structures of discussions using techniques like interrupted time series analysis and regression discontinuity design. Futhermore, we will review and extend state-of-the-art generative models of discussion threads to explain better the structure and growth of online discussions.
 

6 February 2018
12:00
Renaud Lambiotte
Abstract

Assortative mixing in networks is the tendency for nodes with the same attributes, or metadata, to link to each other. It is a property often found in social networks manifesting as a higher tendency of links occurring between people with the same age, race, or political belief. Quantifying the level of assortativity or disassortativity (the preference of linking to nodes with different attributes) can shed light on the factors involved in the formation of links and contagion processes in complex networks. It is common practice to measure the level of assortativity according to the assortativity coefficient, or modularity in the case of discrete-valued metadata. This global value is the average level of assortativity across the network and may not be a representative statistic when mixing patterns are heterogeneous. For example, a social network spanning the globe may exhibit local differences in mixing patterns as a consequence of differences in cultural norms. Here, we introduce an approach to localise this global measure so that we can describe the assortativity, across multiple scales, at the node level. Consequently we are able to capture and qualitatively evaluate the distribution of mixing patterns in the network. We find that for many real-world networks the distribution of assortativity is skewed, overdispersed and multimodal. Our method provides a clearer lens through which we can more closely examine mixing patterns in networks.

Link to arxiv paper:  https://arxiv.org/abs/1708.01236

13 February 2018
12:00
Camille Poignard
Abstract

We study how the synchronizability of a diffusive network increases (or decreases) when we add some links in its underlying graph. This is of interest in the context of power grids where people want to prevent from having blackouts, or for neural networks where synchronization is responsible of many diseases such as Parkinson. Based on spectral properties for Laplacian matrices, we show some classification results obtained (with Tiago Pereira and Philipp Pade) with respect to the effects of these links.
 

20 February 2018
12:00
Daniele Cassese
Abstract

The structure of the state of art of scientific research is an important object of study motivated by the understanding of how research evolves and how new fields of study stem from existing research. In the last years complex networks tools contributed to provide insights on the structure of research, through the study of collaboration, citation and co-occurrence networks, in particular keyword co-occurrence networks proved useful to provide maps of knowledge inside a scientific domain. The network approach focuses on pairwise relationships, often compressing multidimensional data structures and inevitably losing information. In this paper we propose to adopt a simplicial complex approach to co-occurrence relations, providing a natural framework for the study of higher-order relations in the space of scientific knowledge. Using topological methods we explore the shape of concepts in mathematical research, focusing on homological cycles, regions with low connectivity in the simplicial structure, and we discuss their role in the understanding of the evolution of scientific research. In addition, we map authors’ contribution to the conceptual space, and explore their role in the formation of homological cycles.

Authors: Daniele Cassese, Vsevolod Salnikov, Renaud Lambiotte
 

 

You can also find a list of all talks (with abstracts) prior to 2018 here.

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