dimitris kalamaras

mathematics, social network analysis, free software…

Tag: release

SocNetV – 80% completed

Last Friday, it was high time to release a new SocNetV version. The brand new v0.80, the first after six months, marked what I think the start of a more mature period for this tiny little project of mine.

What started as a personal desire to create a simple drawing tool for social networks has become a quite sophisticated tool for social network analysis (spare me, I am talking about mathematical sociology here, not facebook etc):

  • It can read all major network file formats (GraphML, pajek, GraphViz, UCINET, csv, or adjacency matrix) and save the network in GraphML. In the next version, I plan to even add support for the older GML format.
  • It can swiftly compute centrality measures (closeness, betweeness, eccentricity, etc) and layout the network actors accordingly, in radial or layered style, at least for small to medium sized networks (i.e. < 3000 edges). Moreover, it implements one of the fastest known betweeness centrality calculation algorithms. For the 0.90 release, I want to add a couple or more new centrality algorithms (i.e. power centrality by Gil-Mendieta and Schmid).
  • Since 0.70, it can even crawl a given website and create the network of its outLinks. Later, I plan to add support for mailing list archives crawling…

In the new version, I added some social capital features. The software can compute a ‘triad census’, namely it counts all the different types (classes) of observed triads within a network. The triad types are coded and labeled according to their number of mutual, asymmetric and non-existent (null) dyads (this labeling scheme is called M-A-N). This new feature is complimented by a simple, naive (please note, this is a NP-complete problem) clique counting alrorithm.

Also, the speed of the network parser has been improved somewhat by removing some unnecessary checks and adding a simple control variable. And the GraphViz load method is a lot better now. I think. 🙂

As usual, at least a dozen of bugs have been reported and fixed. Of course, it’s not perfect, and certainly many improvements can be made, but the code is there, and is constantly evolving. I think that it deserves to be named 0.80. I am not sure though how easy will be to reach the other 0.20 to the first 1.0 release… If you have an idea about a possible feature, feel free to submit a blueprint.

As usual, source code and binaries for all major distros are available from the project website at SourceForge.

SocNetV 0.51: changes, new logo, and RPM packages

Last Friday, I released version 0.50 of Social Networks Visualiser (SocNetV) and version 0.51 followed already (yesterday), fixing an important (and yet embarrassing) bug in Graph::createDistanceMatrix() method.

IMHO, this new version is the first really usable version of this little application. With it you can draw mathematical graphs (social networks, to be precise, since the focus is more on Social Network Analysis than on Graph Theory), by pointing and clicking, load existing networks of most popular formats (Pajek, GraphML, GraphViz, UCINET, etc), create random networks (Small Worlds, Erdos-Renyi, Ring Lattices, etc), compute actor centralities (Betweeness, Closeness, Graph, etc) and clustering coefficients, select a different network layout based on these centralities (or Spring-Embedder models), and finally export your work to PDF, BMP or PNG file formats, without crashes (unlike earlier releases). A complete workflow, that is!

I am really proud of this progress (if not amazed) since I didn’t expect it to come this far 5 winters ago when I was playing with Qt toolkit while I was on army service in Evros 🙂 Yet, this application has really evolved in my spare time, and seems to be useful to some people (mostly academia).

To celebrate this new release, I prepared RPMs for both Fedora 10 and openSUSE 11.1 distros. Serafeim Zanikolas maintains already an older .deb package in Debian ‘experimental’ (and soon in Sid), while Markos Chandras just added SocNetV to qting-edge overlay, which also houses all new Qt4 and KDE4 software. Ubuntu users may add my Launchpad PPA (older version) to their repos or opt to compile from source (it’s really easy!). Meanwhile, 0.51 is the first version for which we provide a Windows zipped archive with executables (although I cant say I really tested it :P)…Oh, and we now have a much more polished and ad hoc logo (handmade with Gimp/Inkscape of course):

Nice, isn’t it? 😛

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