Sydney researchers discover hidden structure in networks like Twitter

December 01, 2023

A visual replication of network structures. Assortative (A) and Core-Periphery (B) depict two of the common relationship structures found in networks, while Source-Basin (C) portrays the newly found flow of information from less-connected influencers to highly connected users. Their research published in the latest issue of the journal PNAS Nexus introduces a new method capable of identifying and classifying relationships in networks. The study represents a significant advance in understanding complex networks and their scaffolding, while the methodology has the potential to change the way networks are analysed and interpreted. One new relationship that the researchers call a “source-basin” structure plays an important role in two online networks the team closely examined – a new network of Twitter users and a well-studied network of political blogs.

A visual replication of network structures. Assortative (A) and Core-Periphery (B) depict two of the common relationship structures found in networks, while Source-Basin (C) portrays the newly found flow of information from less-connected influencers to highly connected users. [Credit: Liu et al.]

Their research published in the latest issue of the journal PNAS Nexus introduces a new method capable of identifying and classifying relationships in networks. They found unexplored types of relationships in almost all of the 53 networks they analysed.

The study represents a significant advance in understanding complex networks and their scaffolding, while the methodology has the potential to change the way networks are analysed and interpreted.

The research was led by PhD student Cathy Liu and co-authored by Professor Eduardo Goldani Altmann, both from the School of Mathematics and Statistics, and Associate Professor Tristram Alexander from the School of Physics. All three are members of the Centre for Complex Systems.

One new relationship that the researchers call a “source-basin” structure plays an important role in two online networks the team closely examined – a new network of Twitter users and a well-studied network of political blogs.

The source of this news is from University of Sydney

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