Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Reaction - Balancing Systematic and Flexible Exploration of Social Networks

This paper starts with a good understanding of network analysis and how interactive exploration of networks is still a cumbersome task mainly due to the number of nodes and the relationships. The authors propose a Social Action tool so that the network analysts can easily analyse the complex social networks graphs by making use of the two features which are ranking and co-ordinated views.

To discuss the structure about the paper; it is very well arranged in the form of flow. The only hickup that I found was the 3rd point in the paper which directly jumps into the ranking and co-ordinated views for SNA. There could be some paragraph about what users are going to get next and then the actual Ranking article.

The ranking and co-ordinated views and the scatter plot is presented in a good manner which images assisting the understanding more. I specially liked the aggregate rankings for cohesive subgroups. I agree here with the author's idea that when the lists expand in number then scatterplot and filtering would not yield. In this case aggregating the nodes based on subgroups in very intuitive and we can find this technique in many other applications too.

One more feature of the tool Social Action is that the users are able to easily iterate through the multiple linked nodes. This is because even though the links change based on time like in the example attacks on India in 1989, still the orientation of the network doesn't change and hence it is better to understand.

I found this paper useful in terms of understanding the problems and their possible solutions in the domain of network visualization.