ETH Workshop

Signed Relations and Structural Balance in Complex Systems: From Data to Models

ETH Zurich

May 15–17, 2024 Wednesday–Friday

Venue

  • Wednesday 15 May 2024, Friday 17 May 2024
    ETH Zurich, Lecture Hall E101
    LEE Building, Tannenstrasse 3, 8006 Zürich
    Link to map

  • Thursday 16 May 2024
    ETH Zurich, GAP Lecture Hall ML E12
    ML Building, Tannenstrasse 3, 8006 Zürich
    Link to map

Synopsis

According to the theory of structural balance, interacting systems balance the (positive or negative) relations between different system elements such that local conflicts are minimized. Hence, structural imbalances induce a dynamics to resolve such conflicts. This dynamics plays a vital role in evolutionary processes because a multitude of possible solutions exists. At the same time, if these solutions cannot be reached, this can hamper the functionality of systems.

This general problem also occurs in social systems, where instead of a more balanced state, for instance, the polarization of opinions emerges. Are we able to address this problem from a formal perspective? Do we have data available to study it in real systems? Can we develop models that help us to understand when structural balance fails, and how it can be mitigated?

Our workshop shall provide a platform to discuss these questions from a multi-disciplinary perspective, involving researchers from the complexity and the social sciences. Contributions revolve around three interlinked topics:

  • Signed Relations and Structural Balance in Complex Systems
  • Evolution of Signed Relation and Emergence of Structural Balance
  • Mitigating the Implications of Structural Imbalance

Download workshop program with abstracts (PDF, XX pages)

Organisation

The workshop celebrates the completion of the binational collaborative research project on signed relations and structural balance jointly funded by the Polish National Science Foundation (Grant No: xxx) and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF Grant No: 105213L_192746).

We gratefully acknowledge additional financial support for the workshop from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF Grant No: IZSEZ0_XXXX) and from the Chair of Systems Design (ETH Zurich).

Program

Wednesday, May 15

Frank Schweitzer

Welcome and Introductory Remarks

Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 09:3009:45

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Introduction of Participants

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May 15, 2024 | 09:4510:15

☕️ Coffee Break 🥐

10:1510:45

Session

1

Pawel Sobkowicz (Chair/Discussant)
National Centre for Nuclear Research, University of Warsaw, Poland

May 15
10:4512:30

Michael Macy

Keynote: The Shallowness of Deep Division

Department of Sociology, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 10:4511:45

Giacomo Vaccario

Structural balance in complex network: Observation, Emergence and Implications

Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 11:4512:30

Lunch Break

12:3014:00

Session

2

Janusz Holyst (Chair/Discussant)
Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

May 15
14:0015:45

Stefan Thurner

Keynote: How diadic homophilic relations cause structural balance

Complexity Science Hub Vienna and Medical University of Vienna, Austria

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 14:0015:00

Georges Andres

Reconstructing signed relations from interaction data

Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 15:0015:45

☕️ Coffee Break 🥐

15:4516:15

Session

3

Piotr Gorski (Chair/Discussant)
Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

May 15
16:1517:45

Anna Gallo

Assessing frustration in real-world signed networks: towards a statistical theory of balance

IMT School for Advanced Studies, Lucca, Italy

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 16:1517:00

Emma Fraxanet

Unpacking Polarization: Antagonism and Alignment in Signed Networks of Online Interaction

Pompeu Fabra University, Barcelona, Spain

  See Abstract

May 15, 2024 | 17:0017:45

Conference Dinner -- Restaurant Linde, Universitätstrasse 91

18:3021:00

Thursday, May 16

Session

4

Sophia Schlosser (Chair/Discussant)
Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

May 16
09:3010:30

Boleslaw Szymanski

Keynote: Political Polarization At the Age of Social Media

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 09:3010:30

☕️ Coffee Break 🥐

10:3011:00

Session

5

Laurence Brandenberger (Chair/Discussant)
Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

May 16
11:0012:30

Pawel Sobkowicz

On the Individual Roots of Polarization: Combining Experiments and Modeling

National Centre for Nuclear Research, University of Warsaw, Poland

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 11:0011:45

Angela Fontan

Collective decision-making on networked systems: From social networks to political decision-making

KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 11:4512:30

Lunch Break

12:3014:00

Session

6

Alexandre Bovet (Chair/Discussant)
Department of Mathematical Modeling and Machine Learning, University of Zurich, Switzerland

May 16
14:0015:30

Michael Mäs

... (Polarization on social media: Micro-level evidence and macro-level implications) ...

Institute of Technology Futures, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 14:0014:45

Krishnadas Mohandas

Critical properties of Heider balance on multiplex networks

Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 14:4515:30

☕️ Coffee Break 🥐

15:3016:00

Session

7

Georges Andres (Chair/Discussant)
Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

May 16
16:0017:30

Matus Medo

The fragility of opinion formation in a complex world

Department of Clinical Research, University of Bern, Switzerland

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 16:0016:45

Piotr Gorski

Under-representation of nonhierarchical triads in structural balance model

Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

  See Abstract

May 16, 2024 | 16:4517:30

Friday, May 17

Session

8

Frank Schweitzer (Chair/Discussant)
Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

May 17
09:3010:30

Samin Aref

Keynote: Structural analysis of signed networks by optimally clustering them using integer programming models

Department of Mechanical & Industrial Engineering, University of Toronto, Canada

  See Abstract

May 17, 2024 | 09:3010:30

☕️ Coffee Break 🥐

10:3011:00

Session

9

Giacomo Vaccario (Chair/Discussant)
Chair of Systems Design, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

May 17
11:0012:45

Giulia De Pasquale

Binary Models for Opinion Dynamics and Interpersonal Relationships via Influence and Homophily Mechanisms

Automatic Control Laboratory, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

  See Abstract

May 17, 2024 | 11:0011:45

Andreia Sofia Teixeira

Analyzing Signed Networks: Insights from Multiscale Structural Balance Theory and Dynamics in High School Social Relations

Universidade de Lisboa, Portugal

  See Abstract

May 17, 2024 | 11:4512:30

Janusz Holyst

Closing and Farewell

Faculty of Physics, Warsaw University of Technology, Poland

May 17, 2024 | 12:3012:45