Category Archives: current-projects

projects I’m currently working on

Unfluence Project Launched!

Greg Michalec and I just launched a website that allows users to interactively explore political contribution data as a network map. We won first prize in the Sunlight Foundation Mashup competition! Try your own query at

This was done as an entry in the Sunlight Foundations Mashup Contest. Cross your fingers that we win and get some resources to continue the project! ;-)
Continue reading Unfluence Project Launched!

A Call for Collaboration (0.1)

I’m looking for people to team up with to build a non-profit commons based R&D organization. Here’s the current state of my evolving pitch:

Commons Business Model (long term)

CommonsBassedResearchLogoI see this as a project running on a couple of different time scales with various goals. The broader and longer term of which is to test and demonstrate the feasibility of an R&D business model based around intellectual commons. So organizations, academic institutions, and companies would pay for expertise and specific tool delivery, but intellectual property is drawn from and returned to the public domain. Clients would be buying the innovation, the implementation (that final 20% it takes to hook up all those great free libraries into something useful) and saving big bucks by not re-writing everything from scratch. This kind of model is especially appropriate for academics and NGOs which are (nominally at lest) working for a common good rather than directly competing for monopoly.
Continue reading A Call for Collaboration (0.1)

Network Data Formats Wiki

Network Data Formats wiki logoSeveral weeks ago I created wiki to archive discussion and documentation of the various formats for storing network data, hopefully leading to future work converging on some common standards. For now, it is a quick-and-dirty archive to collect and sumarize information about data formats and software for Social Network Analysis and related fields. Most of the material has been lifted from an interesting discussion on the SOCNET listserv. Please feel free to edit and add to documentation, especially if you are the author of any of the formats (or to fix my spelling ;-) Hopefully this could move to a more centralized server at some point…

Mapping Congress

It is still very rough, but I’ve been having a very interesting time looking at contributions among PACs in FEC Data. This image shows transactions to Senate candidate’s central committes that were reported in May of 2006. Colors by party, grey is unkown / unspecified. Labels are on candidate’s committes, but some are violently truncated. Names of PACs have been removed to protect the guilty (actually because they are too long and make the graph cluttered)

They layouts are not converging very well, so the structure is not that accurate. This is also only showing one month’s data, so not very representative. But need much more specific queries and good aggregation rules to deal with longer time periods. Easy to imagine making it interactive, zoomable, animating the time data, adding to SNA metrics, etc. A long ways to go to build software to do this, but I’m excited to have something to show!

CSDE: Techniques for Visualizing Transmission in Dynamic Networks

simMovieImgDr. Martina Morris (PI) & Dr. Mark Handcock at the Center for Studies in Demography and Ecology of University of Washington are funding a SoNIA-related project contract to integrate dynamic network visualization techniques with the R statnet package developed by Morris, Handcock, et al at the CSDE. The funds come from the NIH grants supporting the Network Modeling Project at the University of Washington (grants R01 HD41877 and R01 DA12831)
The focus is on adapting and developing visualization techniques for dynamic network data. The specific emphasis will be on techniques relevant for understanding:

a) infectious disease transmission (change in state of elements due to a network diffusion process) and

b) the stationary dynamics (model-based addition and removal of nodes/edges) of longitudinal network data and simulation output.

The goal is to develop robust, rigorous and repeatable procedures for visually interpreting time-based network data. We will achieve this by linking existing software components and improving existing techniques to generate animations and export movies from R or other statistical packages into standard formats suitable for use in presentations or websites.

SoNIA (Social Network Image Animator)

soniaShot.jpg SoNIA is a Java-based package for visualizing dynamic or longitudinal “network” data. By dynamic, we mean that in addition to information about the relations (ties) between various entities (actors, nodes) there is also information about when these relations occur, or at least the relative order in which they occur.

Some examples..

The source code is on the sourceforge site.

Brass Liberation Orchestra

blo logoA loose affiliation of radical street musicians. The BLO has helped support a large number of actions and issues in the SF bay area over the last several years. Including helping to shutdown the SF financial district during the protests at the beginning of the Iraq war. Since I don’t actually play a horn, I started out playing snare and now a very large surdo. But I’m kind of a “band member at large” as I’m often not in the bay area.

The BLO plays a strange mix of music, but lots of influence from various balkan brass bands and creative arrangements of political music from different ages and movements. There is more information, sheet music, etc on the website.

There seems to be increasing numbers of bands like this in the US, which I find very exciting. Were are beginning to join the international sisterhood of radical brass bands. Groups like the now disbanded Infernal Noise Brigade from seattle, the Hungry March Band and Rude Mechanical Orchestra from NYC. There is now a US email list for interested street band folk, and hopefully this fall we will have the first sbandata-style party (sbandapaloza?) in the form of the HONK festival in Boston.