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Social Network Analysis in Telecommunications by Carlos Andre Reis Pinheiro

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CHAPTER 2

Formal Methods for Network Analysis

The main idea behind social network analysis is not so difficult. A social network is a set of nodes. These nodes may have relationships, or links, with one another. Social networks can be comprised of many or few nodes, connected by one or several types of relationships. In order to create useful information about a particular social network, a complete and rigorous description of the measurements assigned to nodes, links, and patterns of behavior should be applied. Ideally, some knowledge about all the relationships between each pair of nodes will arise.

Often the amount of data used to describe social networks is huge, even for so-called small networks. In the case study presented in this book, involving the telecommunications market, the amount of information can be an impediment. In order to understand the social network and its structure, pattern, behavior, and member characteristics, an elaborate manipulation of the data is required. This can be a complex and time-consuming process. Effective computer algorithms are crucial to compute the relevant network measures that describe the network structure and topology. Analysis of these network measures is the real social network analysis. In other words, the very first step is data preparation, as in any analytical process. In social network analysis, this step is much more important than in other analytical processes, because the identification of nodes and links is made in this ...

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