Next Network Science conference 2008

The next NetSci conference will be held in Norwich, UK. Here is the website: NetSci’08


New York Hall of Science Exhibition: Connections – The nature of networks a new science exhibition

The New York Hall of Science is the host of the 2007 NetSci conference and has also an ongoing exhibition on social networks. It shows kids hands on how social networks are established or fall apart.

It’s a very cool exhibition: the creator Stephen Uzzo has just walked us through it without explaining the different parts. Everyone had to experience for themselves how connections on the Internet are created for example, how a hub connects to the closest spokes around him (we were all standing on a light show type of board, where each of us was a node and when you move around the connections are changing, depending on the shortest path). There were also real spiders creating a spider web.

Stay tuned more coming soon…

Networking (Social) Science Networks

During the last three weeks, I have attended two different conferences – both focused entirely on (Social) Networks: First, I went to Greece to attend the International Conference for Social Network Analysts (main audience/attendance: social scientists) and I am currently blogging from the NetScience conference in New York in the Hall of Science (main audience: scientists).

I talked to a lot of people and listend to a lot of talks at both conferences and I noticed a couple of interesting things:

  1. Researchers in all fields, natural and social sciences are working on (social) networks and within their specific fields they are located in a very specific niche within their own discipline. This is reflected for example in the fact, that a lot of researchers feel obligated to explain what a social network is and what the definition of concepts such as centrality are.
  2. The basic concepts and analysis methods are the same across all disciplines, but we all use different language to describe what we are doing.
  3. Researchers in different fields have different needs for analyzing and visualizing their network data and those who have the abilities to do so are creating/programming their own visualization and analysis tools or libraries. This seems to be an exploding area and I see a potential to synchronize the different needs and tools across disciplines.
  4. Academic disciplines on (social) network research are largely disconnected and innovation is occurring within the disciplines, but usually not across disciplines. It seems as if the wheel is reinvented, but because academic disciplines are isolated and siloed the overall network science field is extremely innovative for its specific audiences.