Tuesday, July 27, 2021

XKCD and Flawed Data

XKCD nailed it yet again, especially with the mouseover text.

Friday, July 16, 2021

My Current Mathematics Genealogy

Here is my current mathematics genealogy.

Thursday, July 08, 2021

"Tie-Decay Networks in Continuous Timeand Eigenvector-Based Centralities"

The paper based on one of my old projects finally appeared in final form. Here are some details.

Title: Tie-Decay Networks in Continuous Timeand Eigenvector-Based Centralities

Authors: Walid Ahmad, Mason A. Porter, and Mariano Beguerisse-Díaz

Abstract: Network theory is a useful framework for studying interconnected systems of interacting entities. Many networked systems evolve continuously in time, but most existing methods for the analysis of time-dependent networks rely on discrete or discretized time. In this paper, we propose an approach for studying networks that evolve in continuous time by distinguishing between interactions, which we model as discrete contacts, and ties, which encode the strengths of relationships over time. To illustrate our tie-decay network formalism, we adapt the well-known PageRank centrality score to our tie-decay framework in a mathematically tractable and computationally efficient way. We apply this framework to a synthetic example and then use it to study a network of retweets during the 2012 National Health Service controversy in the United Kingdom. Our work also provides guidance for similar generalizations of other tools from network theory to continuous-time networks with tie decay, including for applications to streaming data.

Monday, June 28, 2021

"Opinion Dynamics on Tie-Decay Networks"

A new paper of mine just came out in final form. Here are some details.

Title: Opinion Dynamics on Tie-Decay Networks

Authors: Kashin Sugishita, Mason A. Porter, Mariano Beguerisse-Díaz, and Naoki Masuda

Abstract: In social networks, interaction patterns typically change over time. We study opinion dynamics on tie-decay networks in which tie strength increases instantaneously when there is an interaction and decays exponentially between interactions. Specifically, we formulate continuous-time Laplacian dynamics and a discrete-time DeGroot model of opinion dynamics on these tie-decay networks, and we carry out numerical computations for the continuous-time Laplacian dynamics. We examine the speed of convergence by studying the spectral gaps of combinatorial Laplacian matrices of tie-decay networks. First, we compare the spectral gaps of the Laplacian matrices of tie-decay networks that we construct from empirical data with the spectral gaps for corresponding randomized and aggregate networks. We find that the spectral gaps for the empirical networks tend to be smaller than those for the randomized and aggregate networks. Second, we study the spectral gap as a function of the tie-decay rate and time. Intuitively, we expect small tie-decay rates to lead to fast convergence because the influence of each interaction between two nodes lasts longer for smaller decay rates. Moreover, as time progresses and more interactions occur, we expect eventual convergence. However, we demonstrate that the spectral gap need not decrease monotonically with respect to the decay rate or increase monotonically with respect to time. Our results highlight the importance of the interplay between the times that edges strengthen and decay in temporal networks.

Thursday, May 20, 2021

"Topological Data Analysis of Task-Based fMRI Data from Experiments on Schizophrenia"

Another of my papers from an old project final came out in final form after a very long road. Here are some details.

Title: "Topological Data Analysis of Task-Based fMRI Data from Experiments on Schizophrenia"

Authors: Bernadette J. Stolz, Tegan Emerson, Satu Nahkuri, Mason A. Porter, and Heather A Harrington

Abstract: We use methods from computational algebraic topology to study functional brain networks in which nodes represent brain regions and weighted edges encode the similarity of functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) time series from each region. With these tools, which allow one to characterize topological invariants such as loops in high-dimensional data, we are able to gain understanding of low-dimensional structures in networks in a way that complements traditional approaches that are based on pairwise interactions. In the present paper, we use persistent homology to analyze networks that we construct from task-based fMRI data from schizophrenia patients, healthy controls, and healthy siblings of schizophrenia patients. We thereby explore the persistence of topological structures such as loops at different scales in these networks. We use persistence landscapes and persistence images to represent the output of our persistent-homology calculations, and we study the persistence landscapes and persistence images using k-means clustering and community detection. Based on our analysis of persistence landscapes, we find that the members of the sibling cohort have topological features (specifically, their one-dimensional loops) that are distinct from the other two cohorts. From the persistence images, we are able to distinguish all three subject groups and to determine the brain regions in the loops (with four or more edges) that allow us to make these distinctions.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

"Counterparty Credit Limits: The Impact of a Risk-Mitigation Measure on Everyday Trading"

A paper of mine (from an extremely old project) final came out in final form today. Here are some details.

Title: Counterparty Credit Limits: The Impact of a Risk-Mitigation Measure on Everyday Trading

Authors: Martin D. Gould, Nikolaus Hautsch, Sam D. Howison, and Mason A. Porter

Abstract: A counterparty credit limit (CCL) is a limit that is imposed by a financial institution to cap its maximum possible exposure to a specified counterparty. CCLs help institutions to mitigate counterparty credit risk via selective diversification of their exposures. In this paper, we analyse how CCLs impact the prices that institutions pay for their trades during everyday trading. We study a high-quality data set from a large electronic trading platform in the foreign exchange spot market that allows institutions to apply CCLs. We find empirically that CCLs had little impact on the vast majority of trades in this data set. We also study the impact of CCLs using a new model of trading. By simulating our model with different underlying CCL networks, we highlight that CCLs can have a major impact in some situations.

Friday, May 07, 2021

"Random-Graph Models and Characterization of Granular Networks"

A paper of mine from 2020 now has its final coordinates listed on the published file itself. Here are some details.

Title: Random-Graph Models and Characterization of Granular Networks

Authors: Silvia Nauer, Lucas Böttcher, and Mason A. Porter

Abstract: Various approaches and measures from network analysis have been applied to granular and particulate networks to gain insights into their structural, transport, failure-propagation and other systems-level properties. In this article, we examine a variety of common network measures and study their ability to characterize various two-dimensional and three-dimensional spatial random-graph models and empirical two-dimensional granular networks. We identify network measures that are able to distinguish between physically plausible and unphysical spatial network models. Our results also suggest that there are significant differences in the distributions of certain network measures in two and three dimensions, hinting at important differences that we also expect to arise in experimental granular networks.