Network Science and Social Networks

Social networks constitute a significant portion of our daily lives. It is crucial that we be able to better understand what drives them.

The whole world is networked. From the most inconspicuous administrative to the most notorious arms dealer, we are all connected through those with whom we interact. And, as technology becomes a more pervasive force in our daily lives, many of these networks can be observed, measured, analyzed, and understood through the data that they produce.

Do you ever wonder who’s the power behind the throne? Or how they find individuals who may pose an insider threat to sensitive information? Questions like these can be addressed using network analytics.

Take, for example, a major corporation’s efforts to reduce the impact turnover in key positions may cause. Oftentimes, knowledge and job skill is only part of the equation. A particularly effective employee may be so because of the people she knows and the groups she moves between. Network Science and Social Networks endeavours to understand this network’s structure, the employee's position within it, and the linkage between actors in order to provide insight into the mechanisms which underlie its operation. With this understanding, we can more effectively analyze the network as well as reason about and predict the behaviors of those within it.

Our world-class faculty at Carnegie Mellon lead the field in research exploring these complex social network. Ranging from the analysis and identification of terrorist threats to sophisticated studies of online community health and efficacy, we seek to deepen our understanding of the science underpinning many of the interconnected networks which comprise much of our lived experience.