The Formation and Function of Social Networks

Mini-Symposium at the SIAM Annual Conference 2008

Motivation and Scope

Social networks, the graphs of individuals and their interactions, play a fundamental role in many key aspects of society. Examples include the search for and dissemination of information, spread of epidemics, exchange of goods, allocation of resources, or learning of new behaviors. Two recent orthogonal trends have led to a renewed interest in modeling the evolution and function of social networks:

  1. The realization that many of the core tasks performed by social networks are algorithmic in nature.
  2. A previously unimaginable wealth of data becoming available to researchers.

In particular, these trends have led to increasingly tight collaborations between computer scientists, mathematicians, economists and sociologists to understand and mathematically model the formation and function of social networks. This mini-symposium brought together researchers from multiple disciplines and backgrounds working on mathematical models and algorithmic questions relating to the formation and function of social networks. The goals included a cross-fertilization of ideas across multiple areas, and a broad primer on current research topics for the audience in attendance.

Mini-Symposium Program

The mini-symposium was held Thursday, July 10, 2008, from 10:30am until 12:30am. Slides for all of the presentations are now available.

  1. 10:30am-10:55am: Jon Kleinberg, Cornell University (Speaker Bio). Modeling Social and Economic Exchange in Networks. [Slides in PDF]
  2. 11:00am-11:25am: Brian Rogers, Northwestern University (Speaker Bio). A Strategic Theory of Network Status. [Slides in PDF]
  3. 11:30am-11:55am: Carter Butts, UC Irvine (Speaker Bio). Parameterizing Exponential Family Models for Random Graphs: Current Methods and New Directions. [Slides in PDF]
  4. 12:00pm-12:25pm: Thomas Karagiannis, Microsoft Research (Speaker Bio). Opportunistic communications: Modelling inter contact times between human-carried mobile devices. [Slides in PDF]
Mini-symposium organized by David Kempe.
Last modified: Fri Jul 25 19:20:15 PDT 2008