Everything is connected: people, information, events and places, all the more so with the advent of online social media. A practical way of making sense of the tangle of connections is to analyze them as networks. In this course you will learn about the structure and evolution of networks, drawing on knowledge from disciplines as diverse as sociology, mathematics, computer science, economics, and physics. Online interactive demonstrations and hands-on analysis of real-world data sets will focus on a range of tasks: from identifying important nodes in the network, to detecting communities, to tracing information diffusion and opinion formation.
There are no math or programming prerequisites for the class. There will be a few additional assignments for those with a programming background, which will use the R statistical programming language along with NetLogo.
If you’d like to get a head start, download Gephi and explore some of its tutorials. To explore networks interactively, you can visit the NetLogo demonstrations. If you’re itching to read, the Easley and Kleinberg free text on Networks, Crowds and Markets is excellent. The chapters pertinent to this class are 1-5, 13-14,19-21.
The class will consist of lecture videos, which are between 8 and 12 minutes in length. These contain 1-2 integrated quiz questions per video. There will also be standalone homeworks that are not part of video lectures, optional programming assignments, and a (not optional) final exam.
We will be using Gephi for visualization and analysis. The interactive demonstrations will be primarily in NetLogo, which you will be able to access through your web browser. If you would like to complete the programming assignments, which will be done in NetLogo and R, NetLogo is freely available here and R is freely available here.
Yes. Students who successfully complete this class will get a certificate signed by the instructor.