Network Analysis

This article simplifies network metrics with visuals, focusing on public health as an example.

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Spreading Information About Disease Prevention

Imagine you’re a public health official tasked with spreading vital information about disease prevention within a densely populated city. With the threat of a contagious disease, your task is clear: to educate the community to take proactive measures to safeguard their health and prevent the spread of illness.

You’d like to get an understanding of the network dynamics and identify key influencers and communication channels within the city. By mapping out social connections, you gain insights into the most effective ways to reach different segments of the population. You’ll also identify influential groups who can serve as messengers in spreading information about disease prevention quickly.

Network Analysis

This is where network analysis is useful. This computational tool provides a shared language for examining how individual entities are connected and influence one another within a network. It finds application across a wide array of domains, including but not limited to social networks, brain networks, transportation networks, epidemiology, and supply chains.

At its core, a network is comprised of two primary elements: nodes and edges.

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Nodes represent individual entities within a network. In a social network, nodes may represent individuals such as people or organizations. In a transportation network, nodes could represent geographical locations such as cities or intersections. Each node typically possesses unique characteristics or attributes that define its role within the network.


Edges represent the relationships or interactions between nodes within a network. Edges can be directed or…