Social Networks:


Professor B. Mishra
Teaching Assistants:
Yangchen Zhang [ email: ]

First Day of Class: January 27 2015
Last Day of Class: May 05 2015

Cancelled Classes (tentative):
February 03 2015 (Invited Talk, Intl Conf on Dist Comp & Internet Tech., Odisha, India),
March 17 2015 (Dist. Lecture on Systems Biology, University of Warwick, UK: Spring Recess),
Note that some of these classes may be covered by Guest Lectures.

Office Hours: By appt.
Office Phone: 212.998.3464
Email Address:

Day, Time and Place:
Tuesdays, 7:10-9:00pm EST, CIWW 101 (251 Mercer St, NYC).

Credits for Course:

Mathematical Maturity, Programming and Algorithms

Grading Policy:
Quiz: 55 %; Project: 35 %; Final Exam: 10 %

Home Work [ Home Work 1 Due on March 24. Solution. || Home Work 2 Due on April 7. Solution. || Home Work 3 Due on April 21. Solution. ]

Talks [ ..|:|.. ]

Technology & Courage (Sutherland)
Startups (Videos to Watch)
Business Model Canvas

Reading Assignment [
Lecture Number #1: Chapter 1 (Overview, pp 1-17) ||
Lecture Number #2: Chapter 2 (Graphs, pp 21-41) ||
Lecture Number #3: Chapter 3 (Strong/Weak Ties, pp 43-61) ||
Lecture Numbers #4 & #5: Chapter 13 & 14 (Strong/Weak Ties, pp 333-378) ]

Notes [ Note #1 || Note #2 || Note #3 || Note #4 || Note #5 || Note #6 || Note #7 || Note #8 || Note #9 || Note #10 || Note #11 ]

Social Networks is a specific example of many forms of networks that have become ubiquitous in our modern society. Their utilities have been enhanced by their ability to generate massive amount of personal data that need to be analyzed and disseminated quickly. The World Wide Web enables information flows among vast number of humans; facebook, LinkedIn, etc. connect small groups of friends; amazon, ebay, etc. provide opportunities for trading, etc. These networks determine our information, influence our opinions, and shape our political attitudes.

They also link us, often through important but weak ties, to other humans. Their origin is biological: going back to quorum-sensing, swarming, flocking, social grooming, gossip, etc. Yet, as we have connected our social networks to traditional human institutions (markets, justice systems, education, etc.) through new technologies, the underlying biology has become obscured, but not dormant.

This course will introduce the tools, analytics and algorithms for the study of networks and their data. It will show how certain common principles permeate the functioning of these diverse networks: e.g., issues related to robustness, fragility, and interlinkages etc. The lectures will emphasize following topics:

(1) Introduction to Networks (Biological, Social, Economic and Communication)

(2) Graph Theory and Social Networks

(3) Graph Laplacians and Social Ranks

(4) Game theory: Information Asymmetric Games and Deception

(5) Communication and Signaling

(6) Digital Market Places

(7) Ad Exchanges

(8) Crypto-Coins and Crypto-Markets

(9) Case Studies:

Personal Data Markets, Wikileaks, Bit-coins, Cyber Security (M-coins), Information Finance Markets (StockTwits, Quantopia, Wealth Front, etc.), Market Microstructure

Fequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. The course description says, `underlying biology has become obscured, but not dormant,' but the syllabus does not mention how this is going to be brought up. Will the class require prior knowledge of biology?
A1. The course does not require any prior knowledge of biology, nor will any biology be covered in the class in great details. The course will use ideas from evolutionary game theory and its connection to signaling and evolutionary games.

Q2. What is the goal of the class? Will it be: descriptive/prescriptive? qualitative/quantitative? Will it involve algorithms, architectures and simulations?
A2. The intent is to make the class as quantitative and algorithmic as possible, while being descriptive (how current internet works) as well as prescriptive (how the future internet should work). The students will engage in class projects that will involve some implementation and simulation.

Required Text(s):

Midterm Date:
No Midterm.
Final Date:
Class Project.
Class Presentation.

Bud Mishra
September 1 2003