Why Humans and Animals Create Networks

When: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 3:00 pm
Where: DA 114
Speaker: Lazaros Gallos
Organization: Research Associate, Department of Ecology, Rutgers University
Sponsor: Physics Colloquium

Advances in network theory have provided novel insights on how people are connected. We now have a good understanding of the robustness of social networks and spreading processes. The question of why we create networks, though, is still largely answered by qualitative sociological theories. I will present a quantitative analysis of empirical evolving networks, that allows to detect the social mechanisms used for online connections. This information cannot be extracted by the study of static network snapshots. The presented analysis can detect different trends according to gender, age, etc.

Similarly to humans, animals create their own social structures. Different species organize themselves in distinct social structures. Are there any hidden attributes that can help us predict how these networks will be shaped? Is it possible that the structure is dictated by external influences? I will discuss how social networks of different species can evolve to be similar to each other, according to the influence of external non-genetic factors.