Visualizing Network Dynamics Competition
At NetSci07, New York Hall of Science, Queens, NY, May 20th-25th, 2007

See all the entries, winners & judges quotes


Katy Börner
Associate Professor of Information Science, SLIS, Indiana University

Elisha Hardy  
Graphic Designer, Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center, Indiana University

Marcia Rudy

Consultant for Special Programs and Exhibitions, New York Hall of Science

Stephen Uzzo
Director of Technology, New York Hall of Science


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At any moment in time, we are driven by and are an integral part of many interconnected, dynamically changing networks. Our neurons fire, cells are signaling to each other, our organs work in concert. The attack of a cancer cell might impact all of these networks and it will also impact our social and behavioral networks if we become conscious of the attack. Our species has evolved as part of diverse ecological, biological, social, and other networks over thousands of years. As part of a complex food web, we learned how to find prey and to avoid predators. We have created advanced socio-technical environments in the shape of cities, water and power systems, street and airline systems, etc. In 1969, people started to interlink computers leading to the largest and most widely used networked infrastructure in existence today: The Internet.

We are in desperate need to measure, model, manage, and understand the structure and function of large networked physical and information systems. Network science is an emerging, highly interdisciplinary research area that aims to develop theoretical and practical approaches and techniques to increase our understanding of natural and man made networks.

Often, the complex structure of networks is influenced by system dependent local constraints on the node interconnectivity. Node characteristics may vary over time and there might be many different types of nodes. The links between nodes might be directed or undirected, and might have weights and/or additional properties that might change over time. Many natural systems never reach a steady state and non-equilibrium models need to be applied to characterize their behavior.

The visualization of networks plays an important role in the sense making of analytical results but also for the communication of results within and across disciplinary boundaries but also to the general public. While the visualization of static networks is supported by diverse commercial and research tools, the visualization of dynamic networks is an open research problem. However, almost all real world networks are dynamically evolving over time in response to their usage. Hence it is important to develop approaches and tools to communicate the changing structure of networks, activity patterns over networks and the interplay of structural evolution and network usage.

This proposal requests funding for a "Visualizing Network Dynamics" competition to be held as part of the International Workshop and Conference on Network Science 2007. Subsequently, we provide information about the Workshop and Conference and the competition.

Competition Details

The "Visualizing Network Dynamics" competition will be held as an integral part of NetSci07.   The competition will invite researchers, practitioners, and educators from such diverse disciplines as anthropology, sociology, history, social psychology, political science, human geography, biology, economics, communications science but also art and design to submit the best-of visualizations of evolving networks, activity patterns over networks or combinations of the two. Competition applications will comprise large resolution static images or video footage together with a detailed explanation of datasets used, analysis or modeling techniques applied, and visualization design. Applicants will also be asked to list and explain major insights gained and to discuss the value the visualization might have for educational purposes.

The competition aims to harvest the best examples of meaningful (as opposed to purely artistic) network dynamics visualizations, to raise the bar for the documentation and communication of the process applied to generate those visualizations, and to sensitize people to the importance of visualization for formal and informal education and the communication of science in general.

Correspondingly, visualizations will be judged based on:


The Top-3 winning entries will get free registration to the NetSci Conference 2007 and cash prices in amounts of $100, $200, and $300 that are sponsored by the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University.

The Top-25 winning competition entries will be printed in large format and displayed at the Network Science Workshop and Conference. Winning animations will be projected in large format.  

A DVD with all valid entries and their accompanying information will be shared with all Conference attendees. All valuable entries will also be made available online as a general, free resource for anybody interested in the study or communication of dynamic networks.

Submission Details

Each entry needs to include:

Panel of Judges

All valid entries will be judged by an international & interdisciplinary panel of judges comprising:
Lada Adamic (Information Science)
University of Michigan
Vladimir Batagelj (Computer Science)
University of Ljubljana, Slovenia
Ulrik Brandes (Graph Theory)
University of Konstanz, Germany
Albert-László Barabási (Physics)
University of Notre Dame
Allen Caroll (Cartographer)
National Geographic, Washington D.C.
Peter Christensen (Art Curator)
Museum of Modern Art, New York
Martin Dodge (Geography)
University of Manchester, UK
Ingo Günther (Journalism & Art)
Tokyo National University for Fine Arts & Music, Japan
Elizabeth Kerr (Science & Technology)
Apple Computer
David M. J. Lazer (Social Science)
Harvard University
W. Bradford Paley (Designer)
Digital Image Design Inc
Annamaria Talas (Science Producer)
Avalon, Australia
Alessandro Vespignani (Internet Research & Epidemics)
School of Informatics, Indiana University
Daniel Zeller (Visual Artist)
New York

Note: Judges are not eligible to submit entries. Their students and collaborators are welcome to submit.


This competition is supported in part by the Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center at Indiana University, the New York Hall of Science, and the National Science Foundation under award IIS-0724282.
Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Last Updated March 21st, 2007 | Site design by Elisha Hardy