Large-Scale Structure In Networks

Wednesdays@NICO Seminar, Noon, March 12, 2014, Chambers Hall, Lower Level

Professor Mark Newman, University of Michigan

Abstract

Networks are of broad interest in biology, physics, engineering, and many other areas for the light they shed on the shape and function of complex systems.  This talk will focus on the large-scale structure of networked systems -- what do they look like when you stand back and take in the whole network?  This is a difficult question to answer because in most cases the networks we study are too large and complicated to allow us to actually make a picture of them.  Two promising classes of methods for understanding structure are spectral methods and inference methods.  This talk will give an introduction to both using simple examples, and then discuss some beautiful recent results that link the two together and reveal some deep and unexpected truths about what networks can tell us and what they can't.

Biography

Mark Newman received a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of Oxford in 1991 and conducted postdoctoral research at Cornell University before accepting a position at the Santa Fe Institute.  In 2002 he left Santa Fe for the University of Michigan, where he is currently the Paul A. M. Dirac Professor of Physics and a professor in the university's Center for the Study of Complex Systems.  Professor Newman is a Fellow of the American Physical Society and the author of seven books, including "Networks", an introduction to the field of network theory, and "The Atlas of the Real World", a popular book on cartography.  His research centers on social and information networks.