What Electrical Engineering Means For Social Networks

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

When studying Social Networks, the public mind does not often consider the enormous impact the field of Electrical Engineering has on the development of these networks.

“Many tools that traditionally belonged to applied mathematics and electrical engineering have proven to be very useful in social networks,” WNCG Prof. Constantine Caramanis states.

Understanding how networks grow and patterns of macro properties within networks, such as the average number of friends per person, the connectivity between users and how these properties affect the spread of information is a key element in both Electrical Engineering and Social Networks research.

“There are various sides to these ties,” Prof. Constantine Caramanis states. “One is the interaction between people and technology. The demands on our infrastructure networks, which are more identifiably Electrical Engineering, are largely driven by how we use them.”

According to Prof. Caramanis, one of the age-old problems in engineering is the issue of peak to average and how to provision networks to work at the peaks.

“On the other hand,” Prof. Caramanis mentions, “If a network is provisioned to work at the peaks and those peaks come infrequently, then you have a massively over-provisioned network. The more you understand usage patterns, the more you can address that issue.” 

WNCG Profs. Sujay Sanghavi, Sanjay Shakkottai, Alex Dimakis and Constantine Caramanis employ widespread applications of Electrical Engineering tactics to Social Network development. Their research drives the field in epidemics detection and information filtering within and among networks.

“After all,” Prof. Sanghavi states, “Social Networks are essentially a series of large graphs. Our job is to develop mathematical models to help users solve the information overload problem.”