Tutor Interview Series: David Millard – Network

david

Briefly tell me what your session is going to be about –
My week is about all the different types of networks that you find on the Web, the inter-connections of computers, people and things. Seeing complex relationships as networks allows us to use common techniques to understand their shape and behaviour, as well as the role of individuals within the network.

What are the main aims you want to achieve? –
As well as understanding the basic terminology around networks, I hope to show students how many real-world networks have a very similar shape, which gives them some amazing common properties. I also want to show students how we can start to analyse the networks, and how those simple analyses can lead to making higher level discoveries about communities, power and trust.

How will your students benefit? –
Students will learn how to see the digital world as a set of networks, and how to apply different techniques to compare and contrast them. But they will also learn the limitations of that view, and how and when Web Scientists should be skeptical about what network analysis can tell us.

What excites you most about delivering this session within the Web Science MOOC? –
Being able to reach so many people is tremendously exciting. The subject of networks can seem intimidating to some people, as it’s viewed as being quite mathematical, but in fact the core principles are easy to understand, and can really change the way that you look at the world. So teaching networks in the context of Web Science, and especially as part of a MOOC, is a wonderful opportunity to help a wide variety of students to see the world a bit differently.

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