The Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research (CNetS) is part of the School of Informatics and Computing, the Pervasive Technology Institute, and the Network Science Institute of Indiana University. The center supports and enhances the research efforts of the complex systems group, which has been active within the School since 2004. CNetS is meant to foster interdisciplinary research in all areas related to complex networks and systems. On this website you can find information on CNetS faculty, research groups, and their activities.



Awards at CCS 2015

Optimized-IU_poster_5_botsThe CNetS poster “The Rise of Social Bots in Online Social Networks” by Emilio Ferrara, Onur Varol, Prashant Shiralkar, Clayton Davis, Filippo Menczer, and Alessandro Flammini won a Best Poster Award at CCS 2015. The poster was presented by Clayton Davis. The results will also appear in the paper “The Rise of Social Bots” to be published in Comm. ACM (in press, preprint).

The paper “Modularity and the Spread of Perturbations in Complex Dynamical Systems” by Artemy Kolchinsky, Alexander J. Gates and Luis M. Rocha, and the poster “Information Theoretic Structures of the French Revolution” by Alexander Barron, Simon DeDeo and Rebecca Spang won additional awards.

Finally, our former postdoctoral scientist Bruno Gonçalves (now tenured faculty member at Aix-Marseille Université) received a Junior Scientist Award from the Complex Systems Society for his contributions to the study of human social behavior from large-scale online attention and behavioral data. This is the second Junior Scientist Award for CNetS (the first was won by Filippo Radicchi).

Congratulations to the CNetS team!

CNetS researchers use Instagram to predict success of fashion models

Selection_879Predicting popularity and success in cultural markets is hard due to strong inequalities and inherent unpredictability. A good example comes from the world of fashion, where industry professionals face every season the difficult challenge of guessing who will be the next seasons’ top models. A recent study by CNetS graduate student Jaehyuk Park, research scientist Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia (also at the IU Network Science Institute), and research scientist Emilio Ferrara (now at the University of Southern California) is now showing that early success in modeling can be predicted from the digital traces left by the buzz on social media such as Instagram. The study has been accepted for presentation at the 19th ACM conference on Computer-Supported Cooperative Work and Social Computing (CSCW’16). The work has been covered in the media by the MIT Technology Review, Die Welt, Fusion, and iTNews.

CNetS researcher studies percolation in real interdependent networks


Our understanding of how catastrophe propagates in multi-layered networks relies on theories that apply only to infinite systems. As a paper published in Nature Physics by Filippo Radicchi demonstrates, reducing an interconnected network of finite size to a multiset of decoupled graphs provides a route to understanding catastrophic events in real systems.

CNetS research at CCS’15


Big success for CNetS researchers at the Conference on Complex Systems (CCS’15)! Here are the accepted talks from our center:

  1. Computational fact checking from knowledge networks by Giovanni Luca Ciampaglia, Prashant Shiralkar, Johan Bollen, Luis M Rocha, Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini
  2. Control of complex networks requires structure and dynamics by Alexander Gates and Luis M. Rocha
  3. Darwin’s Semantic Voyage by Jaimie Murdock, Simon DeDeo, and Colin Allen
  4. Defining and Identifying Sleeping Beauties in Science by Qing Ke, Emilio Ferrara, Filippo Radicchi and Alessandro Flammini
  5. Detecting conflict in social unrest using Instagram* by Rion Brattig Correia, Kwan Nok Chan and Luis M. Rocha
  6. Detecting Campaigns in Social Media by Onur Varol, Emilio Ferrara, Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini
  7. Discourse Polarization in the US Congress by Rion Brattig Correia, Kwan Nok Chan and Luis M. Rocha
  8. Eigenmood Twitter Analysis: measuring collective mood variation by Ian B. Wood, Joana Gonçalves-Sá, Johan Bollen and Luis M. Rocha
  9. Evolution of Online User Behavior During a Social Upheaval by Onur Varol, Emilio Ferrara, Christine Ogan, Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini
  10. How human perception of the urban environment influences the abandonment process by Stefani Crabstree, Simon DeDeo
  11. Information theoretic structures of the French Revolution by Alexander Barron, Simon DeDeo, and Rebecca Spang
  12. Measuring Emotional Contagion in Online Social Networks by Zeyao Yang, Emilio Ferrara
  13. Modularity and the Spread of Perturbations in Complex Dynamical Systems* by Artemy Kolchinsky, Alexander J. Gates and Luis M. Rocha
  14. On Predictability of Rare Events Leveraging Social Media by Lei Le, Emilio Ferrara and Alessandro Flammini
  15. Optimal network modularity for information diffusion by Azadeh Nematzadeh, Emilio Ferrara, Alessandro Flammini and Yong-Yeol Ahn
  16. Redundancy and control in complex networks by Luis M. Rocha
  17. The Rise of Social Bots in Online Social Networks by Emilio Ferrara, Onur Varol, Prashant Shiralkar, Clayton Davis, Filippo Menczer and Alessandro Flammini

Simon DeDeo will also deliver one of the plenary talks. *Denotes papers “starred”, or designated as especially worthwhile by the CCS15 program committee.

In addition, CNetS researchers presented several papers at the recent NetSci, ICCSS, CAP 2015, CSCW, YTH Live, WWW, and ICCS conferences. Congratulations!

CNetS researchers study sleeping beauties

476706_w296Why do some research papers remain dormant for years and then suddenly explode with great impact upon the scientific community? These “sleeping beauties” are the subject of a new study by CNetS researchers Qing KeEmilio FerraraFilippo Radicchi, and Alessandro Flammini published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The study provides empirical evidence that a paper can truly be ahead of its time. A ‘premature’ topic may fail to attract attention even when it is introduced by authors who have already established a strong scientific reputation. The authors show that sleeping beauties can be dormant for many decades, and are more common than previously thought. The findings have been covered by media such as Nature and The New York Times. More…

CNetS team winner in LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge

The CNetS team

The CNetS team

LinkedIn announced that YY Ahn and his team of Ph.D. students from the Center for Complex Networks and Systems Research, including Yizhi Jing, Adazeh Nematzadeh, Jaehyuk Park, and Ian Wood, is one of the 11 winners of the LinkedIn Economic Graph Challenge.

Their project, “Forecasting large-scale industrial evolution,” aims to understand the macro-evolution of industries to track businesses and emerging skills. This data would be used to forecast economic trends and guide professionals toward promising career paths.

“This is a fascinating opportunity to study the network of industries and people with unprecedented details and size. All of us are very excited to collaborate with LinkedIn and our LinkedIn mentor, Mike Conover, who is a recent Informatics PhD alumnus, on this topic,” said Ahn. Read more…

Indiana University Network Science Institute


IUNI announcement in Science magazine

The new Indiana University Network Science Institute (IUNI) unites 100+ researchers at IU — building on their world-renowned multidisciplinary expertise toward further scientific understanding of the complex networked systems of our world. Through pioneering new approaches in mapping, representing, visualizing, modeling, and analyzing diverse complex networks across levels and disciplines, IUNI will lead the way. We keep track of the big picture — ever-changing and interconnected. We’re laying the groundwork for innovative research and discovery in the area of network science.