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Introduction to Network Science


This is an interdisciplinary course focusing on the emerging science of networks and their applications in business and society. Students will learn the necessary theory, tools, and methods to describe and analyze social networks and information networks. 
Equipped with these skills we study the large-scale structure and dynamics of networks in the real world. We apply our knowledge to understand how networks influence economic decisions, how they can help us find a job, how they redistribute sales in an onlineshop, and we will discuss their central role in viral marketing and viral product design.
In order to succeed in this course it is not required that you are able to write software. All tools for the analysis of networks are available and easy to use. It is more important that you are willing to learn new analytical concepts and methods as they come up. However, there is plenty of room to apply your computational expertise if you want to.
This is a course about networks, about computation and social media, but it is not a course about how you should use Facebook, or Twitter. Facebook did not invent social networks. Humans did that thousands of years ago.
Tentative agenda:

  • Introduction: Networks in society, business and economics
  • Movie: How Kevin Bacon Cured Cancer
  • Random networks
  • The small-world phenomenon
  • Scale-free networks
  • The strength of weak ties
  • Diffusion of innovations in social networks
  • Centrality
  • Communities
  • Recommendation networks and the long tail of E-Commerce
  • Viral product design and viral marketing for social networks



Some books to get started:



 Easley, D.; Kleinberg, J. (2010): Networks, Crowds, and Markets. Reasoning About a    Highly Connected World. Cambridge University Press. 





 Barabási, A.-L. (2002): Linked: The new science of networks. Basic Books.
 Watts, D. J. (2004): Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age". W. W. Norton & Co.  Inc.





 Watts, D. J. (2004): Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age". W. W. Norton & Co.  Inc.