Charles River Analytics, a developer of intelligent systems solutions, presented current efforts in social network analysis at the International Sunbelt Social Network Conference. Sunbelt is the official conference of the International Network for Social Network Analysis (INSNA). Social scientists, mathematicians, computer scientists, ethnologists, epidemiologists, organizational theorists, and others present current research and development in social networks. Sunbelt XXXIV was held from February 18 – 23, 2014, the TradeWinds Resort in St. Pete Beach, Florida.
The keynote address, “Knowing Your Social Network Data and Measures,” was presented by Jeffrey C. Johnson of the Institute of Coastal Science and Policy and Department of Sociology, East Carolina University.
Charles River’s Principal Software Engineer Christopher Hopkins presented a poster on the development of an openly-available suite of integrated software components called the Rapid Ethnographic Network Analysis Toolkit, or RENATO. “RENATO will enable social scientists to easily design data collection strategies using many collection techniques, execute those data collections on a handheld device, upload the results to a central server, and analyze them with a variety of analysis methods,” Hopkins explained. “RENATO will include all of the key features of the Anthropac software package and provide researchers the benefit of a modern way to collect, analyze, and share their data.”
Senior Software Engineer David Koelle discussed the development of a natural language parser that allows subject matter experts to navigate and understand networks by directly posing questions. “Casual or occasional users of network analysis tools can gain insight into a collection of network data by literally saying, ‘highlight events that happened more than 20 days ago,’ ‘color everyone by in-degree,’ or ‘select the key players and hide everyone else,’” said Koelle. “This style of interaction greatly reduces the barrier between end-users and their analysis tool. As natural language tools become more prevalent—as we already see happening on smart phones—and as network analysis tools become more complex, this will ensure that analysts can communicate their intentions to their analysis tool, and have those intentions understood and acted on.”
Read the abstracts for these presentations here: