Controlling Ising systems on graphs with modular structure

29 October 2019
Matthew Garrod

Many complex systems can be represented as networks. However, it is often not possible or even desirable to observe the entire network structure. For example, in social networks, it is often difficult to obtain samples of large networks due to commercial sensitivity or privacy concerns relating to the data. However, it may be possible to provide a coarse grained picture of the graph given knowledge of the distribution of different demographics (e.g age, income, location, etc…) in a population and their propensities for forming ties between each other.

I will explore the degree to which it is possible to influence Ising systems, which are commonly used to model social influence, on unobserved graphs. Using both synthetic networks (stochastic blockmodels) and case studies of real world social networks, I will demonstrate how simple models which rely only on a coarse grained description of the system or knowledge of only the underlying external fields can perform comparably to more expensive optimization algorithms.