Growing Networks with Positive and Negative Links: Summary

As the final week of my Summer Monroe Project comes to a close I am very proud and satisfied with what I have accomplished this summer and am greatly looking forward to continuing my research in the Fall.  My greatest accomplishment this summer was building a robust network simulation program that will be invaluable to me as I continue an Honors research project in Dr. Shaw’s lab for the next two years.

This project also gave me a great taste of what it is like to conduct math research, and I learned that I definitely hope to continue doing research throughout my academic career. I began the summer reading a few dense and complex math papers and as the weeks went on it became easier and easier to understand the content.  It is very exciting to now feel that I am an “expert” on networks and could easily explain the dauntingly complicated research papers.  This summer I was also able to experience the process of research by starting with a vague undiscovered idea and taking small careful steps to understanding it.

I had a very productive summer gaining the background knowledge and intuition about network structure to now delve into the unchartered territory of signed networks.  The most exciting moment this summer was getting results that were extremely unusual and unexplained. These curious findings will propel me into a further investigation of signed networks. I hope to gather user data from the online social network, Slashdot, and compare this actual data with my simulated data in what has the potential to be a publishable math paper.

I am indebted to the advice and support of Dr. Shaw and the Applied Science graduate students.  Working with them this summer I have learned so much about networks and have widely expanded my appreciation and love of math. I am so grateful to the Monroe program for the opportunity to work uninterrupted on research and greatly enhancing my academic experience here at William and Mary.

Thanks for a great summer!