Netgram: Visualizing communities in evolving networks

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Abstract

Real-world complex networks are dynamic in nature and change over time. The change is usually observed in the interactions within the network over time. Complex networks exhibit community like structures. A key feature of the dynamics of complex networks is the evolution of communities over time. Several methods have been proposed to detect and track the evolution of these groups over time. However, there is no generic tool which visualizes all the aspects of group evolution in dynamic networks including birth, death, splitting, merging, expansion, shrinkage and continuation of groups. In this paper, we propose Netgram: a tool for visualizing evolution of communities in time-evolving graphs. Netgram maintains evolution of communities over 2 consecutive time-stamps in tables which are used to create a query database using the sql outer-join operation. It uses a line-based visualization technique which adheres to certain design principles and aesthetic guidelines. Netgram uses a greedy solution to order the initial community information provided by the evolutionary clustering technique such that we have fewer line cross-overs in the visualization. This makes it easier to track the progress of individual communities in time evolving graphs. Netgram is a generic toolkit which can be used with any evolutionary community detection algorithm as illustrated in our experiments. We use Netgram for visualization of topic evolution in the NIPS conference over a period of 11 years and observe the emergence and merging of several disciplines in the field of information processing systems. Copyright:

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Mall, R., Langone, R., & Suykens, J. A. K. (2015). Netgram: Visualizing communities in evolving networks. PLoS ONE, 10(9). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0137502

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