Computer Laboratory

Course pages 2011–12

Social and Technological Network Analysis

Principal lecturer: Dr Cecilia Mascolo
Taken by: MPhil ACS, Part III
Code: L109
Hours: 16
Prerequisites: An undergraduate course on probability


This module aims to introduce concepts of complex and social network analysis and its application to real social and technological networks.


The course will consist of sixteen lectures covering the following material:

  • Introduction to social networks, small world networks and network distance
  • Random Graphs
  • Weak ties and communities
  • Centrality and Modularity
  • Power laws and the structure of the web
  • Internet and robustness
  • Network search and PageRank
  • Network cascades
  • Applications of network cascades
  • Theory of epidemic dissemination
  • Time aware network measures
  • Spatial social network analysis
  • Network analysis tools
  • Students' presentations

The lectures will contain various examples from recent analysis of large and real social networks including telephone networks, online social networks and human contact networks.


On completion of this module students should be familiar with the most common metrics and techniques of complex network analysis and classification, as well as the most recent applications of these techniques in the area of social and technological networks.


  1. A report over the critical evaluation of a selected paper. This will include:
    • critical analysis of the paper including, possibly, comparisons and references to other material presented in the course or found by the student and comments on how solid the result obtained are (e.g., comments on the evaluation methods or on the analysis applied can be included);
    • Discussion of possible future research ideas in the area;
    This will be worth 30% of the final mark.
  2. The second assignment will consist of analysis of an assigned dataset according to some indicated network measures using NetworkX: the analysis should be reported in a document of about 1,500 words where the results are commented and justified. This will be worth 50\% of the final mark.
  3. A 10-minute presentation of the analysis and critical opinion of the second assignment. The presentation should highlight the findings and explain the salient points of the analysis and the process and refinement steps of it. This will be worth 20% of the final mark.

Recommended reading

Easley, D. & Kleinberg, J. (2010). Networks, crowds, and markets: reasoning about a highly connected world. Cambridge University Press.
Newmann, M. (2010). Networks. Oxford University Press.

A full list of publications can be found on the course web page.