Dynamic Contextual Friendship Networks

Alice Zheng


  The study of social networks has gained new importance with the recent rise of large on-line communities. Most current approaches focus on deterministic (descriptive) models and are usually restricted to a preset number of social actors. Moreover, the dynamic aspect is often treated as an addendum to the static model. Taking inspiration from real-life friendship formation patterns, we propose a new generative model of evolving social networks that allows for birth and death of social ties and addition of new actors. Each actor has a distribution over social interaction spheres, which we term "contexts." We study the robustness of our model by examining statistical properties of simulated networks relative to well known properties of real social networks. A Gibbs sampling procedure is developed for parameter learning.

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Pradeep Ravikumar
Last modified: Thu Mar 23 22:37:46 EST 2006