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Concept: Complex network


Social networks show striking structural regularities, and both theory and evidence suggest that networks may have facilitated the development of large-scale cooperation in humans. Here, we characterize the social networks of the Hadza, a population of hunter-gatherers in Tanzania. We show that Hadza networks have important properties also seen in modernized social networks, including a skewed degree distribution, degree assortativity, transitivity, reciprocity, geographic decay and homophily. We demonstrate that Hadza camps exhibit high between-group and low within-group variation in public goods game donations. Network ties are also more likely between people who give the same amount, and the similarity in cooperative behaviour extends up to two degrees of separation. Social distance appears to be as important as genetic relatedness and physical proximity in explaining assortativity in cooperation. Our results suggest that certain elements of social network structure may have been present at an early point in human history. Also, early humans may have formed ties with both kin and non-kin, based in part on their tendency to cooperate. Social networks may thus have contributed to the emergence of cooperation.

Concepts: Sociology, Networks, Social psychology, Social network, Human evolution, Network theory, Complex network, Six degrees of separation


How to determine the community structure of complex networks is an open question. It is critical to establish the best strategies for community detection in networks of unknown structure. Here, using standard synthetic benchmarks, we show that none of the algorithms hitherto developed for community structure characterization perform optimally. Significantly, evaluating the results according to their modularity, the most popular measure of the quality of a partition, systematically provides mistaken solutions. However, a novel quality function, called Surprise, can be used to elucidate which is the optimal division into communities. Consequently, we show that the best strategy to find the community structure of all the networks examined involves choosing among the solutions provided by multiple algorithms the one with the highest Surprise value. We conclude that Surprise maximization precisely reveals the community structure of complex networks.

Concepts: Mathematics, Social sciences, 2006 albums, Strategy, Community, Complex network, Open problem, Community structure


Human communication in social networks is dominated by emergent statistical laws such as non-trivial correlations and temporal clustering. Recently, we found long-term correlations in the user’s activity in social communities. Here, we extend this work to study the collective behavior of the whole community with the goal of understanding the origin of clustering and long-term persistence. At the individual level, we find that the correlations in activity are a byproduct of the clustering expressed in the power-law distribution of inter-event times of single users, i.e. short periods of many events are separated by long periods of no events. On the contrary, the activity of the whole community presents long-term correlations that are a true emergent property of the system, i.e. they are not related to the distribution of inter-event times. This result suggests the existence of collective behavior, possibly arising from nontrivial communication patterns through the embedding social network.

Concepts: Time, Sociology, Networks, Community, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network


Network motifs are small connected sub-graphs that have recently gathered much attention to discover structural behaviors of large and complex networks. Finding motifs with any size is one of the most important problems in complex and large networks. It needs fast and reliable algorithms and tools for achieving this purpose. CytoKavosh is one of the best choices for finding motifs with any given size in any complex network. It relies on a fast algorithm, Kavosh, which makes it faster than other existing tools. Kavosh algorithm applies some well known algorithmic features and includes tricky aspects, which make it an efficient algorithm in this field. CytoKavosh is a Cytoscape plug-in which supports us in finding motifs of given size in a network that is formerly loaded into the Cytoscape work-space (directed or undirected). High performance of CytoKavosh is achieved by dynamically linking highly optimized functions of Kavosh’s C++ to the Cytoscape Java program, which makes this plug-in suitable for analyzing large biological networks. Some significant attributes of CytoKavosh is efficiency in time usage and memory and having no limitation related to the implementation in motif size. CytoKavosh is implemented in a visual environment Cytoscape that is convenient for the users to interact and create visual options to analyze the structural behavior of a network. This plug-in can work on any given network and is very simple to use and generates graphical results of discovered motifs with any required details. There is no specific Cytoscape plug-in, specific for finding the network motifs, based on original concept. So, we have introduced for the first time, CytoKavosh as the first plug-in, and we hope that this plug-in can be improved to cover other options to make it the best motif-analyzing tool.

Concepts: Algorithm, Graph theory, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Discrete mathematics, Algorithmic efficiency


Application of social network analysis to education has revealed how social network positions of K-12 students correlate with their behavior and academic achievements. However, no study has been conducted on how their social network influences their academic progress over time. Here we investigated correlations between high school students' academic progress over one year and the social environment that surrounds them in their friendship network. We found that students whose friends' average GPA (Grade Point Average) was greater (or less) than their own had a higher tendency toward increasing (or decreasing) their academic ranking over time, indicating social contagion of academic success taking place in their social network.

Concepts: Grade, Education, Sociology, High school, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network


Social systems are in a constant state of flux, with dynamics spanning from minute-by-minute changes to patterns present on the timescale of years. Accurate models of social dynamics are important for understanding the spreading of influence or diseases, formation of friendships, and the productivity of teams. Although there has been much progress on understanding complex networks over the past decade, little is known about the regularities governing the microdynamics of social networks. Here, we explore the dynamic social network of a densely-connected population of ∼1,000 individuals and their interactions in the network of real-world person-to-person proximity measured via Bluetooth, as well as their telecommunication networks, online social media contacts, geolocation, and demographic data. These high-resolution data allow us to observe social groups directly, rendering community detection unnecessary. Starting from 5-min time slices, we uncover dynamic social structures expressed on multiple timescales. On the hourly timescale, we find that gatherings are fluid, with members coming and going, but organized via a stable core of individuals. Each core represents a social context. Cores exhibit a pattern of recurring meetings across weeks and months, each with varying degrees of regularity. Taken together, these findings provide a powerful simplification of the social network, where cores represent fundamental structures expressed with strong temporal and spatial regularity. Using this framework, we explore the complex interplay between social and geospatial behavior, documenting how the formation of cores is preceded by coordination behavior in the communication networks and demonstrating that social behavior can be predicted with high precision.

Concepts: Sociology, Systems theory, Social psychology, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Social systems


Elevational gradients of biodiversity have been widely investigated, and yet a clear interpretation of the biotic and abiotic factors that determine how species richness varies with elevation is still elusive. In mountainous landscapes, habitats at different elevations are characterized by different areal extent and connectivity properties, key drivers of biodiversity, as predicted by metacommunity theory. However, most previous studies directly correlated species richness to elevational gradients of potential drivers, thus neglecting the interplay between such gradients and the environmental matrix. Here, we investigate the role of geomorphology in shaping patterns of species richness. We develop a spatially explicit zero-sum metacommunity model where species have an elevation-dependent fitness and otherwise neutral traits. Results show that ecological dynamics over complex terrains lead to the null expectation of a hump-shaped elevational gradient of species richness, a pattern widely observed empirically. Local species richness is found to be related to the landscape elevational connectivity, as quantified by a newly proposed metric that applies tools of complex network theory to measure the closeness of a site to others with similar habitat. Our theoretical results suggest clear geomorphic controls on elevational gradients of species richness and support the use of the landscape elevational connectivity as a null model for the analysis of the distribution of biodiversity.

Concepts: Scientific method, Ecology, Gradient, Elevation, Topography, Complex network, Landscape, Geomorphology


Social network analysis provides a perspective and method for inquiring into the structures that comprise online groups and communities. Traces from interaction via social media provide the opportunity for understanding how a community is formed and maintained online.

Concepts: Sociology, Community building, Social network, Virtual community, Network theory, Network science, Complex network, Social network aggregation


A class of networks are those with both positive and negative links. In this manuscript, we studied the interplay between positive and negative ties on mesoscopic level of these networks, i.e., their community structure. A community is considered as a tightly interconnected group of actors; therefore, it does not borrow any assumption from balance theory and merely uses the well-known assumption in the community detection literature. We found that if one detects the communities based on only positive relations (by ignoring the negative ones), the majority of negative relations are already placed between the communities. In other words, negative ties do not have a major role in community formation of signed networks. Moreover, regarding the internal negative ties, we proved that most unbalanced communities are maximally balanced, and hence they cannot be partitioned into k nonempty sub-clusters with higher balancedness (k≥2). Furthermore, we showed that although the mediator triad ++- (hostile-mediator-hostile) is underrepresented, it constitutes a considerable portion of triadic relations among communities. Hence, mediator triads should not be ignored by community detection and clustering algorithms. As a result, if one uses a clustering algorithm that operates merely based on social balance, mesoscopic structure of signed networks significantly remains hidden.

Concepts: Sociology, Networks, Virtual community, Complex network, Triad, Balanced line, Triadic


It is widely recognized that social networks and loneliness have effects on health. The present study assesses the differential association that the components of the social network and the subjective perception of loneliness have with health, and analyzes whether this association is different across different countries.

Concepts: Sociology, Networks, Social network, Network theory, Network science, Complex network