Please join the SONIC Lab in Frances Searle Room 1-483 on March 20th at 2pm to welcome SONIC Speaker, George G. Vega Yon of USC’s Keck School of Medicine, who will present his talk “Big Problems for Small Networks: Statistical Analysis of Small Networks and Team Performance.” Followed by a workshop on R packages ‘ergmito’ and ‘gnet’ for applying the methods introduced during the talk.
Small network data such as team, family, or personal networks, is common in many fields that study social networks. Although the analysis of small networks may appear simplistic relative to the difficulties posed by “big” datasets, there are at least two key challenges: (1) fitting statistical models to explain the network structure in small groups, and (2) testing if structural properties of small networks are associated with group-level outcomes; for example, team performance. In this presentation, we introduce two new statistical methods that use a revisited version of Exponential Random Graph Models (ERGMs) in the context of small networks. Using exhaustive enumeration of networks in the support, we are able to calculate exact likelihood functions for ERGMs, which allows us to obtain maximum likelihood estimates directly (without using simulations), avoiding common problems that arise from methods that rely on approximations instead. This is joint work with Prof. Kayla de la Haye (USC).