Toronto Networking Seminar

Organized by Department of Computer Science and Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of Toronto

Distinguishing and Estimating Mechanisms of Network Formation

Derek Ruth
McGill University
Department of Computer Science

Date: Nov 7,  4:10pm
Location: BA 5256 (Bahen Centre)


To predict how a community will grow or how a biological system will evolve, we must first articulate how the underlying network can change. Among other things, this requires a quantitative model of the mechanisms that change the connectivity of an existing network. And while we may be able to observe change occurring, it is difficult to disambiguate the different mechanisms that drive the transformations we observe. In this talk, I will present a technique for disambiguating and quantifying the role of three distinct, fundamental mechanisms in the formation of a network. Using hints embedded in the structure of the network itself, it is possible to estimate the contributions made by each mechanisms to the overall network structure. I will also show how, by applying the new model to academic citation networks, we can identify differences in the way various research communities conduct and evaluate research.


Derek Ruths is an assistant professor of Computer Science at McGill University. He joined the faculty in 2009 after completing his PhD in Computer Science at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His thesis work involved the construction of predictive, computational models of signaling network dynamics in cancer cells. Since starting at McGill he has broadened his research program to consider the problem of characterizing and predicting the large-scale dynamics of complex systems through network-based models. As a result, he now works on a range of real-world systems including online social platforms, campaign finance, gene regulation, and cellular signaling.