The N.C. A&T grant of the month for August: $198,000 for social network analysis, simulation

The Sponsored Funding Report for August:

N.C. A&T received 18 grants totaling $4.93 million in August.

One highlight of August’s funding was a grant worth $198,482 from the National Science Foundation to Dr. Zhijun Zhan of the Department of Computer Science.  His co-investigator on the project will be Dr. Noshir Contractor, a distinguished professor at Northwestern University.

The project:  Social Network Analysis and Simulation Systems

The issue: The ability to conduct extensive analysis of social networks is needed by a wide variety of corporations, universities, hospitals, and government agencies. With the use of the mathematics of networks, scientists can begin to formulate the extremely convoluted, complex, nonlinear, and chaotic systems of social phenomena. It is only with such scientific understanding of social networks that we can even begin to optimize them for efficiency and productivity for social order and our economy. It is highly desirable to optimally address the resource geographical boundaries that lead to the optimal allocation of food and essential supplies, trade and the flow of capital, and the optimization of the access to education, etc.

Abstract: The research objective of this project is to build a social network analysis and simulation system through extensive study of different social networks using network entropy spectral metrics, fast cluster analysis algorithms, and eigenvalue analysis. The research explosion concerned with network theory and applications has made us aware that the understanding of networks is essential to the understanding and optimization of the vast range of social structures. Networks are pervasive as communication linkages, transportation systems, utility systems, financial transactions and currency flows, electrical computer circuit networks, biological networks, linguistic and anthropological cultural structures, and a spectrum of other composite and derivative networks often involving geospatial distributions. In this project, we will extensively study different social networks and develop a web-based Social Network Analysis and Simulation (SONAS) system.

The educational objective of this project is to produce significant education outcomes by integrating the following components into SONAS system project: (1) to establish a modern Social Network Simulation Laboratory in North Carolina A&T State University, (2) to recruit, train, and mentor motivated undergraduate students in social network analysis and simulations, and 3) to attract underrepresented students to pursue a career in computer science.

The complete list of grants received in August (xlsx file).

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