Saturday, May 31, 2008

A 13th century social network

Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends has an interesting post on a team of French researchers who have used medieval documents to create the oldest detailed social network ever constructed:

The mathematicians and computer scientists looked through thousands of records of land transactions dating back as far as 1260 in a Southwest part of France. The result of their study shows 'how medieval peasants and lords were connected.' Even if the title of the Nature News article is somewhat ironic -- 'Researchers give a French province the 'Facebook' treatment' --, this mathematical study is pretty serious. And its title is more enigmatic: 'Batch kernel SOM and related Laplacian methods for social network analysis' (SOM meaning 'self-organizing map'). But read more...

A French medieval social network

You can see above "a representation of the medieval social network with force directed algorithm." (Credit: Romain Boulet et al.) This figure has been made by using the open source graph drawing Tulip software.

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