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The missing link: finding holes in a network
Project Number: 075 University Project Leaders/Departments: Host Department: Geography Brief outline of project Networks are everywhere and underlie much of day to day life. While often invisible they are critical to the functioning of modern society, from communication networks to other forms of infrastructure such as roads and electricity, to more abstract uses of the network where we can use them to represent the way proteins in biological networks interact or how people interact as described in a social network. The benefit of representing data as a network lies in the graph theoretical measures available for network analysis. Such benefits have resulted in an explosion of research towards the development of new network measures, and the representation of old data newly dressed as a network. Instances like the significant power outages, have highlighted holes that exist in infrastructural networks. Similar holes can also be found in our social networks, giving power to certain players, and limiting information flow to others. The significance of holes lies in their ability to obstruct the flow of information or substance through or over a network. These areas tend to act as barriers to movement, where things are forced to travel around these holes in order to traverse the network. Therefore, detecting such holes within networks provides us with information about parts of the network that are poorly connected. An algorithm for detecting holes in a network has been implemented, but only at a small scale, applied to small networks. This project seeks to reimplement the algorithm to efficiently discover holes for very large networks, and to test it out in a research application. For details of the small scale implementation, see the following paper: Reitsma, F. and S. Engel (2004). Searching for 2D Spatial Network Holes. Computational Science and its Applications - ICCSA 2004 Conference, Assisi, Italy, May 14-17 2004, Proceedings, Part II: Lecture Notes in Computer Science 3044 Springer: pp. 1069-1078. The paper can be found here: http://www.femker.org/papers/reitsmaEngell04CCSA.pdf. Specific student requirements:
A student who is studying at the 400 level or above in 2010 (or who is skilled enough and can prove it despite being at a lower level). The student must have strong programming and algorithm development skills.
Dr Femke Reitsma, Tony Dale (Bluefern)