Network Science in High School
The Network Science Center has been working with New York Hall of Science(NYSCI), Boston University, Binghamton University, and local schools on a project called NetSci High to bring the study of networks to high school students. The goal of this effort is to prepare the next generation of scientists and policymakers to understand and solve some of the world's most complex problems.
In a recent article on Huffington Post's Impact X
, Dr. Steve Uzzo, VP, Science & Technology, NYSCI and coPI for the NetSci High project, shared the impetus behind the project, emphasized future goals, and highlighted some of the initial results of the program which indicate that:
Network science is teachable to diverse groups of high school students and is a compelling way into understanding complex data-driven sciences that motivates and empowers students to solve real-world, complex problems,
Network science motivates students to learn computer programming through purposeful research projects, even students who did not think of themselves as computer programmers, and
Network science represents a way to increase interest in science, technology, engineering and math among underrepresented populations (minorities, females, and first generation immigrants).
NSC team creates ORCA software to help combat criminal street gangs
We are pleased to announce our some of our latest research in social network mining with the ORCA (Organizational, Relationship and Contact Analyzer) software that is designed to help law enforcement personnel better combat criminal street gangs. We are actively working with a major American police department to field this package. A recent paper on ORCA was accepted to the FOSINT-SI conference held in Niagara Falls this August (http://fosint-si.cpsc.ucalgary.ca/). A pre-print of this paper is available online (http://arxiv.org/abs/1306.6834).
To learn more about this project please read the articles in BBC
and the MIT technology review
International Workshop on Network Science
The International Workshop on Network Science was held April 29- May 1 at Hotel Thayer. The three day workshop included was kicked off with a welcome speech and activity from COL John M. Graham. The keynote speakers discussed advances in Network Science Research. The first speaker, Dr. Boleslaw K. Szymanski, (Dept. Computer Science, RPI) gave a talk titled ‘Impact of Social Networks on Human Mobility and Consensus’, Dr. Bruce J. West (ARO) gave the Tuesday keynote speech discussing ‘Complex Networks: Individuality, limitation and Influence’. Dr. Chris Arney (Network Science Center and Math Dept. at West Point) gave the Tuesday luncheon speech ‘Network Science: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving Tools’and finally, Dr. Erik Mettala (Advanced Coordination Technologies) opened the last day of the workshop with his keynote speech, which was a great wrap up to the keynote speeches. Participants included West Point faculty Dr. John James, LTC Tony Johnson, Dr. Charles Thomas, MAJ Paulo Shakarian, Dr. Kate Coronges, Dr. Cyril Cassagnes and COL Kevin Huggins as well as researchers from the United States and overseas.
The NSC presents the Network Science Excellence Award which is awarded each year to NSC cadets who work diligently on network science related projects. The projects are judged by a panel. This year the judges were Dr. Scott Fish (University of Texas), Dr. Steve Uzzo (NY Hall of Science), Ms. Catherine Cramer (NY Hall of Science), and Dr. John James (Network Science Center). There were seventeen projects from multiple departments judged this year. The judges stated they had a difficult time choosing the winners and as such there were four winners, two of which were tied for second place.
Leveraging Host Protein Network Topology to Identify Cancer-Causing Pathogens. Speaker: CDT Joseph Hannigan
Advisor: MAJ Paulo Shakarian
2nd place (two-way tie):
Identifying and Isolating Influential Subgroups in Social Media Networks.
Speaker: CDT Jeffery Nielson
Advisor: Dr. Chris Arney
Effective Measures for Predicting Spread in SIS Models.
Speaker: Cadet Robert Delany
Advisor: Dr. Brian Macdonald
Identifying Sets of Epidemic Spreaders in Complex Networks.
Speaker: CDT Geoffrey Moores
Advisor: MAJ Paulo Shakarian
2013 HS Network Science Workshop
Last week the IEEE Taskforce on Network Science held their 2013 2nd International Workshop on Network Science here at West Point. At the conclusion of the main part of the workshop Dr. Helen Armstrong from Curtain University in Australia, Dr. Makame Muhajir from the Minerva Project at West Point, and Catherine Cramer from the NY Hall of Science joined Lori Sheetz from the Network Science Center to present the first HS Network Science Workshop, held 1 May 2013 at Newburgh Free Academy. This workshop is the first collaboration between the Network Science Center, IEEE Taskforce on Network Science, and the NY Hall of Science.
After a welcome by Ms. Sheetz, Ms. Cramer gave an introduction to network science, an overview of NetSci High, and did a quick group exercise on emergent behavior. This gave the audience of forty-seven students and ten faculty and administrators the foundation they needed to understand applications described by Dr. Armstrong. Armstrong explained how she began as a computer scientist and now uses network science as a tool to solve complex problems in the areas of computer science, nursing, food networks, and rural development networks. Everyone began to see the interdisciplinary problem solving possibilities inherent in this new field. Attendees had a chance to stretch their legs and apply their new understanding while working through another hands-on group activity led by Ms. Cramer then the last talk of the day was introduced. Dr. Muhajir who is a native of Tanzania explained the political and social networks in parts of Africa, particularly his native country. The workshop concluded with an informal discussion with researchers and light refreshments. A special thanks to the Newburgh Enlarged City School District and students in the Science Honor Society for hosting the workshop and helping to make it such a success.
Cadets Mentor High School Students on Projects Day
A NetSci High group of students, teachers, and mentors from Binghamton, New York City, and Newburgh came to West Point on Projects Day to hear network science presentations and see posters in competition for the Network Science Excellence Award. Cadets competing for the award took time out of their busy day to share their research projects and also give the students valuable advice on how to present posters. The high school students are doing their own network science research and will be presenting a poster this summer in Boston. HS teams also had the opportunity to visit other departments to see what kind of research is being done in other areas of student interest.
For lunch Cadets Alex Bates and Theodore Fong joined the students and shared details of cadet life. After lunch Dr. Charles Thomas, an NSC faculty in the History Department, presented his Somali Piracy Network project and then cadets walked the group through an exercise up in the Simulation Center in Washington Hall. The day wrapped up with a tour of the academic area and Trophy Point. Both students and adults who participated were impressed with the high quality of research, the rigors of cadet life at the academy, and the history and traditions that make up West Point.
The list below shows all NSC posters/presentations to be judged on Projects Day.
Democracy in Political Networks. Speakers: CDTs Sam Terhaar, Jared Van Curen, Jason Wright, Zack Engen; NSC, Rm 119
The YouTube Controversialist: Topographic Analysis of Dynamic YouTube Comment Networks. Speakers: CDTs Bradley Hodgkins and Frederick Ulrich; NSC, Rm 119
Analyzing the Policy Implications of Military, Economic, and Diplomatic Networks. Adviser: Luke Gerdes; Speakers: CDTs Rob Delany Ben Potter, Jeffrey Nielsen, and Victoria Emerson. NSC, Rm 119
Athena Visualization Tool: Visual Document and Media Exploitation (DOMEX) of email communications recovered from captured battlefield electronic devices to assist in tactical and operational intelligence analysis and collection planning. Adviser: MAJ Ryan Tate; Speakers: CDTs Tony Kirkland, Larisa Tudor, Kyle Kiriyama; West Point Club Ballroom
Social Network Content Notification in Facebook. Speakers: CDTs Guillermo "Willie" Hernandez and Cory Kirk; West Point Club Ballroom
Identifying Sets of Epidemic Spreaders in Complex Networks. Speaker: CDT Geoffrey Moores; West Point Club Ballroom
A Scalable Heuristic for Viral Marketing Under the Tipping Model. Speaker: CDT Damon Paulo; West Point Club Ballroom
Leveraging Host Protein Network Topology to Identify Cancer-Causing Pathogens. Speaker: CDT Joseph Hannigan; West Point Club Ballroom
Locating Weapons Caches with the SCARE Software. Speaker: CDT Ellis Valdez; West Point Club Ballroom
Semantic Network Analysis to Gauge Sentiment Among Young Muslims: A Pilot Study Location. Adviser: Luke Gerdes; Speaker: CDT Vincent Schuele; EECS
Android Controlled Vulnerable-Aware Robot Swarms (AVARS). Adviser: COL Kevin Huggins; Speakers: CDTs Sean Coffey, Nolan Miles, Stephen Rogacki, Isaiah Salsman; EECS
The Modeling and Analysis of Social Media for Understanding the Influence Factors of Social Movements: Cadet Nicholas Wright; Thayer Room 120B
Modeling Irregular Warfare for Understanding Modern US Doctrine and Strategy: Cadet Allen Moss; Thayer Hall Room 120B
Using Data Analysis and Network Models to Combat Crime: Cadet Benjamin Potter; Thayer Hall 120B
Civil Affairs Veterinary and Agricultural Assessment, Analysis and Planning Methodology: Cadets Michael Regan, Tom Ott, Armando Pena, and Travis Hinds; Jefferson Hall TBD
Identifying and Isolating Influential Subgroups in Social Media Networks: Cadet Jeffery Nielson;
Thayer Hall 120B
Effective Measures for Predicting Spread in SIS Models: Cadet Robert Delany; Thayer Hall 120A
Developing Models of Entrepreneurial Networks in the Developing World
Mr. Dan Evans and Dr. Charles Thomas visited Kampala, Uganda from 8-12 April in support of an ongoing Army Research Office-sponsored Network Science Center project that is developing new quantitative methods of modeling entrepreneurial networks.
The team was hosted by the staff of Hive CoLab, Uganda’s first tech-based business incubator; organizations that support the successful development of entrepreneurial companies through an array of business support resources and services. Hive CoLab’s staff assisted in arranging interviews and data collection with a diverse group of entrepreneurs across the city. Hive’s staff also facilitated introduction to three other business incubators in Kampala. Over the course, of four and a half days, Mr. Evans and Dr. Thomas were able to successfully collect the data required in order to develop an in-depth network model.
Dr. Charles Thomas interviews a young entrepreneur at Hive CoLab.
Initial Network Models
Mr. Evans and Dr. Thomas were also able to visit with Fred Iga Luganda, the Director of the Makerere University Business School Micro-Finance Center. The Center is a research organization aimed at fostering financial inclusion and fighting poverty through research, training, consultancy, internships and an information hub for policy makers and researchers. As a result of the visit, the Network Science Center will explore establishing a future AIAD partnering with the Micro-Finance Center.
Based on the successful data collection trip, the research team will collect an additional data set in June in order to allow mathematical comparison of the two collected networks.
Finding Key Actors in Terrorist Groups
On April 15, Dr. Luke M. Gerdes spoke to the Social Network Analysis Club (SNAC) about the impact that data transformation has on node-level centrality. He demonstrated that efforts to find “highly central” individuals in two-mode data (e.g. agent x event data) are largely dependent on the data transformation processes that analysts use to restate information in “flat” one-mode perspectives (e.g. agent x agent data) that allow the implementation of traditional measures of network centrality.
According to Dr. Gerdes’ research, different transformation processes will select different “highly central” actors when applied to the same dataset. Because efforts to target clandestine terror groups often hinge on finding these sorts of key actors, this research can help the policy community to better identify important highly central participants in dark networks.
Biological Networks at the Brown Bag
At the Brown Bag on April 10th, Dr. Ken Wickiser presented on the study of Biological Networks, which involves the analysis of the change in levels of genes and metabolites as individual cells, tissues, or organisms respond to a drug or disease. He discussed that new technologies have been developed over the last decade that allow the simultaneous analysis of tens-of-thousands of genes and metabolites in cells and organisms ranging from bacteria to humans. Discovering the heretofore unknown relationships between drugs and disease that perturb the natural networks of genes and metabolites is one of the main goals of Systems Biologists - a new and exciting field combining biology, chemistry, and computer science. The cadets and faculty of the Biological Networks group within the Network Science Center at West Point are conducting lab experiments ranging from exposing cell culture to various drugs to collecting clinical data involving Seasonal Affective Disorder among cadets during the spring semester at West Point. Additionally, researchers are reanalyzing existing datasets using novel algorithms and approaches - some of which are routinely used in Social Network Analysis. The combination of bioinformatics and biological experimentation are proving to be useful to funding agencies ranging from the Army Research Office to the Army's Medical Research and Materiel Command.
Presenting at 13th Annual University of Texas Africa Conference
Dr. Charles Thomas attended the 13th Annual University of Texas Africa Conference in Austin, Texas in the last week of March. The conference’s theme was Social Movements, Religion, and Political Expression in Africa. Dr. Thomas, a previous participant in the conference series, was tapped to both present a paper and chair a panel over the course of the three day conference. His paper, “’Disgraceful Disturbances: TANU, the Tanganyikan Rifles, and the 1964 Mutiny,” explained the structural issues involved in the 1964 mutinies of the Tanganyika Rifles, the military of the newly independent state of Tanganyika. It was well received by his peers and will most likely be tapped for publication as part of the volumes that emerge from the conference.
The panel that he was chosen to chair, “Narratives of African Conflict,” featured four papers presented by junior international scholars. This panel was specifically chosen for video recording and has the potential to be used in future promotional materials for the conference series.
Networking and Generalship Across the Anglosphere
From 7-21 March I traveled to Canberra, Australia, and Wellington, New Zealand, to research social and informational networks among senior military officers (both general and flag officers). It was an incredibly fruitful endeavor, and I was able to interview 27 total individuals, of which 6 were academics and 21 were general and flag officers (14 Australian, 13 New Zealander). Of the 21 senior military officers, 9 were retired, 12 were active. And, further, of those 21, 9 were Brigadier Generals, 11 were Major Generals, and one was a Lieutenant General (Note: the Australians and New Zealanders prefer to title their military officers a little differently than in this U.S. – I have listed the U.S. equivalent rank).
Each had a wealth of experience to share which spoke to the qualitative side of these relationships, and each was (thankfully) willing to be very forthcoming on the individuals they keep in their “circle of trust” (which generated quantitative data). Before continuing, it might be appropriate to discuss some of the reasons for studying this important group of military professionals.
A Research Opportunity…
The history of senior military officers bouncing ideas off of one another is well documented. Generals Ulysses S. Grant and William T. Sherman, acquaintances at West Point, wrote hundreds of official and personal dispatches between them. Similarly, General Dwight D. Eisenhower received intellectual assistance through an informal network that was an immense help during the Second World War.
The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq also show networking general officers. In early 2006, General David Petraeus brought together 135 experts on irregular warfare to develop a new counterinsurgency manual for American ground forces; British Brigadier General Nigel Alywin-Foster and Australian Army Lieutenant Colonel David Kilcullen played significant roles. There seems to have been a broadening in the intellectual circle that general officers keep when prosecuting armed conflict.
The “Anglosphere” community is certainly a candidate for research. Schooling opportunities, multi-national staff and wartime assignments, and an increase in communications technology logically leads to the conclusion that senior general officers in each of these countries are finding increased opportunities to learn across national boundaries.
Research Benefit to the Army and wider Defense Community…
The study seems to provide two direct benefits. First, human relationships are the glue that makes international military operations function. Clearly, despite some vocal criticism to the contrary, the United States fights with many nations at its side (30+ in Iraq and 40+ in Afghanistan). This trend will very likely continue into the future. Knowing more about how the officers leading these coalitions relate to one another is desirable.
Second, the U.S. government is entering a period of scarcer financial resources. How ought the funds allocated for defense diplomacy be spent? Logically, if one finds that these senior leaders are more reactive in developing their networks, that they meet people as a result of experience-based events (i.e. military schools), then expenditure continuity is likely in order. However, if many seem to be “self-forming,” proactively gained by seeking someone out via the internet, for example, then perhaps expanding programs using internet-based platforms should be pursued.
NS-CTA at West Point for Data Collaboration
MAJ Nick Howard from the Math Department hosted a team of six researchers from the Network Science Collaborative technology alliance (NS-CTA) for a data collaboration exercise. This exercise allowed members of the CTA to work with real-world unclassified TIGR data from the JTF-Horn of Africa. The NS-CTA has had limited access to this type of mission data so this was a great opportunity to test some of their theoretical advancements on actual data gathered by soldiers. The Network Science Center plans on conducting similar collaborative events like this with the CTA in the future. Additionally, two of the NS-CTA researchers presented their work at a brown bag lunch to the Network Science Team.
Washington Symposium & Capitol Hill Poster Session
RPI, CUNY, ARL HRED researchers visit NSC
The National Center for Science and Civic Engagement hosted its annual Washington Symposium and Capitol Hill Poster Session. The symposium, held in the National Academies buildings, provided an opportunity for educators to share work done around the United States to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education by linking course content to real world applications. This forum gave the Network Science Center at West Point an opportunity to share some of the work being done in network science education. Lori Sheetz from the Network Science Center presented a poster, ‘Building a New Information Science Curriculum: Teaching Network Science to Undergraduates’. This poster gave the background on what is network science and why an undergraduate network science minor would be beneficial to the cadets at West Point and future military leaders. It also detailed the structure, process, and content of the minor along with a list of the courses already being taught here at WP. The poster generated a lot of conversation and positive comments providing an opportunity to broaden awareness of the field of NS and its application to curriculum as early as high school. The Capitol Hill poster session was held in Rayburn House Office Building to allow members of Congress and legislative fellows along with the public a chance to speak with researchers about some of the progress being made integrating STEM fields and civic engagement.
To further broaden the awareness of the importance of network science education, on Tuesday morning Ms. Sheetz spoke with a couple of people in Senator Gillibrand’s office. The Senator is currently working on new STEM legislation. Because of the interdisciplinary nature of network science it is idea for bringing together science and social issues while engaging students in STEM fields.Newburgh Free Academy students visit West Point
Several cadets and NSC faculty members met with students, teachers, and family members from Newburgh Free Academy to share a few of the many network science (NS) projects cadets are conducting at West Point. Cadets gave presentations on research they have recently completed and also offered the students some advice based on lessons they learned in the process. Faculty members shared their insight into why a network approach can offer a new perspective to problems. This was extremely valuable because the Newburgh students are beginning their own NS research project with their teachers.
In addition to the presentation, cadets also took the visitors on a tour of the academic area. Students got a chance to see the classrooms and buildings and ask the cadets questions about what life is like at the academy. By the end of the day all of the visitors had a deeper appreciation for the academy, faculty and especially the work done by the cadets.
See the full story on the Central Node.
Network Science Center Researchers visit the Great Plains Joint Training Center (Salina, Kansas) and Kansas State University
Submitted by Dan Evans
On 5 and 6 November, I traveled with Cadets Diamond Rorie and Garrett Schubert, a Capstone Project Team from the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Department to Salina and Manhattan, Kansas in support of ongoing research efforts.
On Monday the 5th, the cadet team of introduced their capstone Information Technology project to Brigadier General (BG) Eric Peck and his staff at the Great Plains Joint Training Center. BG Peck is the Commander, Land Component of the Kansas Army National Guard and is a leader in the Guard’s Agribusiness Development Team (ADT) Initiative. These ADTs promote sustainable farming practices in Afghanistan and are an innovative way for Guard members to utilize civilian-acquired skills.
Cadets Garrett Schubert and Diamond Rorie present their Capstone Project to the Kansas National Guard.
The cadet team is developing a smart phone application (app) that will develop visualization and decision-making reports which depict social capital network topologies. The ADT effort has agreed to partner with the cadets and test the app on the ground worldwide. At this initial coordination meeting, the team demonstrated the initial prototype to a group of senior officers and non-commissioned officers from both the Army and Air Guard. They led and moderated a vigorous discussion of the app’s proposed functionality and collected feedback from the app’s eventual users. Based on this feedback, the team will adjust their project’s plan before the development of the next iteration of the app.
Kansas National Guard members discuss presentation from Cadets.
Additionally, the team was fortunate to tour the entire Great Plains Joint Training Center (GPJTC) facility. The Center is located in and around the former Schilling Air Force Base and also includes ranges, maneuver training area, a facility called Crisis City, and the Smoky Hill Air Guard Range. Crisis City is an innovative training complex for law enforcement, search and rescue, medical response teams, public and private industry safety professionals and military operations in support of civil authorities. The training area includes a train derailment site, a gas leak site, a collapsed building site, a rappel tower with an elevator rescue, a MOUT site, and an agricultural accident site.
Crisis City in Kansas.
Aerial picture of Crisis City in Kansas.
The Smoky Hill range complex is the largest and busiest Air Guard bombing range in the nation and encompasses 54 square miles of training space with over 100 tactical targets and an electronic warfare site. Smoky Hill provides realistic combat training for military aircraft and ground forces from all the military services as well as provides unmanned aerial vehicle support. The day we visited B-2 and B-52 bombers were using the range.
Train derailment site.
On Tuesday the 6th, I met with several organizations in the Manhattan Kansas area that are collaborating on a related Network Science Center project involving Entrepreneurial Networks. Some of the data that will be collected by the Guard ADT teams will include information about the local business environment. The NSC is currently developing a quantitative methodology that will compare the local entrepreneurial environment across diverse geographical regions in order to set a baseline that will allow policy makers to make more effective decisions when considering economic development efforts. The entrepreneurial community in Manhattan has agreed to assist in this effort and the NSC will be collecting data from this community.
Rubbled building at Crisis City.
Our lead partner is Rebecca Spexhart, the Director of Economic Development at the Manhattan/K-State Innovation Center. The Center was established in 2007 and is focused on assisting entrepreneurs to commercialize intellectual property emanating from basic research at Kansas State University and other intellectual property portfolios. At the IC, I met with staff members, introduced the project and discussed the proposed data collection process.
Manhattan/K-State Innovation Center
Additionally, I was fortunate to meet with members of the Manhattan Chamber of Commerce to discuss this effort. Mr. John Pagen of the Chamber escorted me on a visit to the Kansas Entrepreneurial Center which is an innovative public, privately-sponsored business incubator that provides space to start-up companies. At this facility, services such as administrative facilities are provided on a shared basis in order to reduce the costs to start-up companies.
I also met with the staff members and entrepreneurs of the K-State Student Venture Accelerator. This organization, sponsored by the KSU School of Business, Includes two venture incubator houses, a student venture capital fund, and provides mentor and consulting services. The Accelerator is open to all KSU students and entrepreneurs are accepted by submitting a business/venture plan that is reviewed by the staff.
K-State Student Venture Accelerator
Besides laying the groundwork for the project collaboration and data collection, I was fortunate to gain great insights on the types of innovative ideas that develop at a large land-grant institution such as Kansas State. A common misperception is that start-ups are usually firms that are creating the next Facebook-mainly IT or data focused. In Manhattan I was exposed to an amazing amount of business diversity. Much of the ongoing work is focused on biotech, animal or food science, and industrial innovations. For instance, I was able to observe or be introduced to firms that are working on start-ups ranging from bioenergy, pipeline technology, nanotech to combat toxic materials, various food and animal testing technologies, and renewable/green product ideas.
On 23-24 October 2012, the Network Science Center (NSC) welcomed researchers from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s SCNARC (Social Cognitive Network Academic Research Center), CUNY and ARL HRED (Army Research Laboratory, Human Research and Engineering Directorate). We had valuable discussion on future collaborations between the centers which will include cadet projects and participation and have cadet AIADs planned for summer 2013 jointly with Dr. Kate Coronges from BS&L, RPI, ARL and CUNY.
Dr. Malik Magdon-Ismail spoke about Hidden Adversarial Networks during the Brown Bag Lunch.
Their visit to West Point also included a lecture by Dr. Sibel Adali from RPI’s SCNARC to faculty and cadets from D/Math and NSC, entitled Actions Speak as Loud as Words: Predicting Relationships from Social Behavior Data, a visit to Dr. Chris Arney’s Network Science class (MA488A) and NetSci Brown Bag Lunch Meeting with a collection of talks from SCNARC researchers.
West Point staff enjoy the Brown Bag Lunch lecture from Dr. Gyorgy Korniss.
The lunch meeting talks included, Dr. Bolek Szymanski giving an overview of SCNARC, Dr. Malik Magdon-Ismail speaking on Hidden Adversarial Networks, Dr. Gyorgy Korniss speaking on Social Dynamics, Opinion Spreading, & Influencing in Social Networks and Dr. Sibel Adali speaking on Trustworthiness, Competence and Information Credibility in Social Cognitive Networks.