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Network Science Summer Research Institute

The Summer Research Institute is a week-long summer program where students will learn graph theory, computer programming, and network analysis while carrying out supervised research in network science.

Network science is an interdisciplinary and growing field that combines elements of graph theory with computer and data science in order to better understand the connections and relationships that are all around us. During the Summer Institute, students will gain foundational concepts in network science, including basic programming (scripting) for data collection, statistical concepts for summarizing and analyzing data, and graph theory for measuring important network characteristics. Common tools for network visualization and analysis will be described, and students will complete hands-on training of all aspects of the network analysis process (data collection, network construction, visualization, and analysis).

Students will use their newly acquired skills to complete a supervised research project in network science in order to analyze the social structure of a movie. Specifically, students will extract character interactions from a movie script, create a character interaction network, and identify relevant network characteristics such as “centrality” and other graph theoretic measures appropriate to their research hypothesis. For example, students may hypothesize about important characters and relationships, about different communities of characters, or about how character relationships are associated with gender or other features. Sample movie networks are shown in the images below. These were created by Movie Galaxies ( As you can see, in the network for Forrest Gump, Forrest is the most connected character. In the network for The Princess Bride, Buttercup appears to be the most important character. Different communities are highlighted with different colors. Students will perform a similar analysis for a movie that does not appear on the Movie Galaxies website.

The Summer Institute will culminate in a symposium where students will share their research findings with one another. Students will each receive a $200 stipend (including $50 for food) and a leading network science textbook. Support from a peer mentor will also be provided. The Summer Research Institute will run from May 20 – 24, 2019, from approximately 9 – 4:00 each day.

The Summer Research Institute uses a competitive application process. To apply, please complete the application available by 5:00 PM on February 28, 2019. If you have questions about this opportunity, please contact Dr. Dancik ( or Dr. Heenehan (