Speaker: Samin Aref
Affiliation: Department of Computer Science
Title: Measuring Partial Balance in Signed Networks
Date: Tuesday, 29 Sep 2015
Time: 5:00 pm
Location: CAG15/114-G15 (Commerce A)

Is the enemy of an enemy necessarily a friend, or is a friend of a friend a friend? If not, to what extent does this tend to hold? Such questions were formulated in terms of signed (social) networks and necessary and sufficient conditions for a network to be “balanced” were obtained around 1960. Since then the idea that signed networks tend over time to become more balanced has been widely used in several application areas, such as international relations. However investigation of this hypothesis has been complicated by the lack of a standard measure of partial balance, since complete balance is almost never achieved in practice.

We formalise the concept of a measure of partial balance, compare several known measures on real-world and synthetic datasets, as well as investigating their axiomatic properties. We use both well-known datasets from the sociology literature, such as Read’s New Guinean tribes, and much more recent ones involving senate bill co-sponsorship. The synthetic data involves both Erdős-Rényi and Barabási-Albert graphs.

We find that under all our measures, real-world networks are more balanced than random networks. We also show that some measures behave better than others in terms of axioms. We make some recommendations for measures to be used in future work.

Everyone welcome!