Information ecosystems: an ecological approach to socio-technical communication networks

27 Novembre 2018 Associazione Alumni_admin Categories bacheca, Senza categoria

Martedì 4 dicembre 2018 il Prof. Javier Borge-Holthoefer, Complex Systems group (CoSIN3), Universitat Oberta de Catalunya, terrà un seminario dal titolo “Information ecosystems: an ecological approach to socio-technical communication networks” all’interno delle attività didattiche della Scuola Galileiana.

L’evento si svolgerà al Collegio Morgagni in Aula Magna alle ore 18.00, all’interno delle attività didattiche della Scuola Galileiana. L’incontro è aperto al pubblico, fino ad esaurimento dei posti a sedere.

– Abstract –

The study of the complex networks has become a subject of great interest in the scientific community in the last two decades. Its importance relies not only in the improvement of the understanding of certain physical phenomena, but mostly because of its influence beyond Physics -ecology, biology, economy, sociology, or engineering.

In these contexts, the detection and identification of emergent structural patterns has been, historically, one of the main focus in the development of modern network theory. Such interest is not surprising, because these structural patterns lie at the core of the discipline as one of the keys to the origins– which are the assembly rules that led to an observed pattern?– and dynamics–how does the structure constrain the performance of the network’s activity?– of a network. Examples of such patterns are modularity, nestedness, core-periphery structures, etc. These architectural signatures have been mostly studied separately, with little or no attention to possible combinations between them.

However, we have increasing evidence that hybrid patterns are present in real data: first and foremost in community ecology, where the possibility to find combined nested-modular networks is an ongoing debate– specially in relation to the dynamics of a system, which for sure will be different than those of purely modular or purely nested networks. Particularly intriguing, these patterns appear as well in socio-technical environments (“information ecosystems”), and this is the guiding idea of the lecture.

Accordingly, we will first introduce the concept of information ecosystem–or how communication networks can be reframed as mutualistic interactions between humans and memes. Then, we will take a look at the structure of such systems as they evolve in time, with special attention to the methods that have been exploited to this end.

Finally, some questions on the dynamics of such systems will be laid out, leading to the possible future directions of research on this topic, which include multilayer systems and a discussion on the limits of the ecological metaphor in social systems.