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 Barry Wellman

  S.D. Clark Professor of Sociology, FRSC               NetLab Director
  Department of Sociology                  725 Spadina Avenue, Room 388
  University of Toronto   Toronto Canada M5S 2J4   twitter:barrywellman             fax:+1-416-978-3963
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Facebook (and Systems Biologists) Take Note: Network Analysis Reveals True
Northwestern University News Center (IL) (12/07/09) Fellman, Megan

Northwestern University researchers Roger Guimera and Marta Sales-Pardo
have developed a universal method that can correctly analyze a variety of
complex networks.  The researchers tested their method on a range of five
networks: a karate club, a social network of dolphins, the neural network
of a worm, the air transportation network of Eastern Europe, and the
metabolic network of Escherichia coli.  For each of the five networks, the
researchers introduced errors and applied an algorithm to the distorted
network.  Each time, the algorithm created a new network with the errors
separated out, and each new network construction was closer to the
original true network.  "The flexibility of our approach, along with its
generality and its performance, will make it applicable to many areas
where network data reliability is a source of concern," say Guimera and
Sales-Pardo. The central idea to the new method is that, even though every
network has unique characteristics, they all have nodes that can be put
into specific groups, with the nodes connecting to each other based on
group membership.  The method averages all possible groupings of the nodes
and gives each group a weight that reflects its explanatory power.
"There are many ways to map nodes in a network, not just one," says
Sales-Pardo.  "We consider all the possible ways.  By taking the sum of
them all, we can identify both missing and spurious connections."

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