Elements of Network Science: CS59000-ENS

Schedule   Resources

Course information

Spring 2013
T-Th 10:30am–11:45am
Recitation Bldg 226


Assefaw Gebremedhin
Office: Haas 146
Email: agrebreme at purdue dot edu

Office hours

Tentative office hours: Tuesday 2:30-4:00pm, or by appointment.

Course Description

The course seeks to introduce fundamental elements of the emerging science of complex networks, with emphasis on social and information networks. Students will be introduced to select mathematical and computational methods used to analyze networks, models used to understand and predict behavior of networked systems, and theories used to reason about network dynamics. Students will also be exposed to current research in the field, and they will be given an opportunity to explore a chosen topic through a semester project.

Tentative list of topics to be covered include:

Course preview: Jan-08 we had the first meeting. I went through these course preview slides. And handed out this survey to gather student background info and interest to help determine final list of topics.


The course is suitable for graduate students in computer science, sociology, economics, engineering, mathematics, statistics, and related fields.


There are no formal prerequisites, but students are expected to have basic knowledge of algorithms, linear algebra (e.g. solution of linear systems and eigenvalue/vector computation) and probability. Some programming experience will be an advantage.

Course work

The course will consist of lectures (twice a week, 75 min each), and will involve two homework assignments and a semester project. A semester project could take one of several forms: analysis of an interesting dataset using existing methods and software; comparison of existing methods and software tools in the context of a specific application; implementation of a new method; exploration of a chosen research topic. Students are encouraged to work in teams of two or three for the semester project.



There is no one official textbook for the course. Lecture notes, readings and related resources will be posted at the course website as the course proceeds.

The following book will be used as a primary reference:

Other and related references include:



Students are expected to maintain a professional and respectful classroom environment. In particular, this includes:

You may use any non-disruptive personal electronics during class.


Please feel free to email me with any questions, but please prefix all email titles with the string CS-5900-ENS.

I will make every effort to respond promptly, however, replies could be delayed due to circumstances outside of my control.

Assignment clarity

I expect all assignments to be legible and well-written. For this, I will suggest using a computer with LATEX to prepare all submitted materials.

If you do not plan to use a computer and LATEX to prepare solutions to homeworks, you must let me know.

Missing or late work

Except as discussed below, or by prior arrangement, missing or late work will be counted as a zero.


Collaboration on homework is allowed. The final assignments must contain a list of all collaborators. However, students must prepare solutions individually. As an example of the ideal scenario, the following situation is permissible:

A group of students meets to develop the solution to a problem on a white board. Each student records individual notes from this problem solving meeting. All students then prepare solutions individually and without further collaboration. These solutions show the names of all members in the initial group.

Examples of collaborations that are not allowed include, but are not limited to:

Collaboration on the projects must be discussed with the instructor.

Computer codes

Some assignments may involve producing computer codes. These need to be documented and written in accordance with good software engineering practices. Failure to follow this advice may result in solutions receiving reduced points. Moreover, the codes should be prepared individually. Groups may discuss implementation strategies, algorithms, and approaches; but codes, like written homework solutions, must be prepared separately.


Behavior consistent with cheating, copying, and academic dishonesty is not tolerated. Depending on the severity, this may result in a zero score on the assignment, and could result in a failing grade for the class.

Purdue prohibits “dishonesty in connection with any University activity. Cheating, plagiarism, or knowingly furnishing false information to the University are examples of dishonesty.” (Part 5, Section III-B-2-a, University Regulations) Furthermore, the University Senate has stipulated that “the commitment of acts of cheating, lying, and deceit in any of their diverse forms (such as the use of substitutes for taking examinations, the use of illegal cribs, plagiarism, and copying during examinations) is dishonest and must not be tolerated. Moreover, knowingly to aid and abet, directly or indirectly, other parties in committing dishonest acts is in itself dishonest.” (University Senate Document 72-18, December 15, 1972)

Please review the Purdue’s guide to academic integrity


Students are expected to be present for every meeting of the classes in which they are enrolled. Only the instructor can excuse a student from a course requirement or responsibility. When conflicts or absences can be anticipated, such as for many University sponsored activities and religious observations, the student should inform the instructor of the situation as far in advance as possible. For unanticipated or emergency absences when advance notification to an instructor is not possible, the student should contact the instructor as soon as possible by email, or by contacting the main office that offers the course. When the student is unable to make direct contact with the instructor and is unable to leave word with the instructor’s department because of circumstances beyond the student’s control, and in cases of bereavement, the student or the student’s representative should contact the Office of the Dean of Students.

Grief Absence Policy

Purdue University recognizes that a time of bereavement is very difficult for a student. The University therefore provides the following rights to students facing the loss of a family member through the Grief Absence Policy for Students (GAPS). GAPS Policy: Students will be excused for funeral leave and given the opportunity to earn equivalent credit and to demonstrate evidence of meeting the learning outcomes for misses assignments or assessments in the event of the death of a member of the student’s family.

Violent Behavior Policy

Purdue University is committed to providing a safe and secure campus environment for members of the university community. Purdue strives to create an educational environment for students and a work environment for employees that promote educational and career goals. Violent Behavior impedes such goals. Therefore, Violent Behavior is prohibited in or on any University Facility or while participating in any university activity.

Students with Disabilities

Purdue University is required to respond to the needs of the students with disabilities as outlined in both the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 through the provision of auxiliary aids and services that allow a student with a disability to fully access and participate in the programs, services, and activities at Purdue University. If you have a disability that requires special academic accommodation, please make an appointment to speak with me within the first three (3) weeks of the semester in order to discuss any adjustments. It is important that we talk about this at the beginning of the semester. It is the student’s responsibility to notify the Disability Resource Center (http://www.purdue.edu/drc) of an impairment/condition that may require accommodations and/or classroom modifications.


In the event of a major campus emergency, course requirements, deadlines and grading percentages are subject to changes that may be necessitated by a revised semester calendar or other circumstances beyond the instructor’s control. Relevant changes to this course will be posted onto the course website or can be obtained by contacting the instructor via email. You are expected to read your @purdue.edu email on a frequent basis.


Purdue University is committed to maintaining a community which recognizes and values the inherent worth and dignity of every person; fosters tolerance, sensitivity, understanding, and mutual respect among its members; and encourages each individual to strive to reach his or her own potential. In pursuit of its goal of academic excellence, the University seeks to develop and nurture diversity. The University believes that diversity among its many members strengthens the institution, stimulates creativity, promotes the exchange of ideas, and enriches campus life.

Purdue University prohibits discrimination against any member of the University community on the basis of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin or ancestry, marital status, parental status, sexual orientation, disability, or status as a veteran. The University will conduct its programs, services and activities consistent with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and orders and in conformance with the procedures and limitations as set forth in Executive Memorandum No. D-1, which provides specific contractual rights and remedies.


This syllabus is subject to change. Updates will be posted on the course website.