6th Workshop on Complex Networks


The Art of Networks II

(click on the pictures below for more information about the works)

Networks are everywhere. We find them in a myriad of areas, from metabolic to social networks, from transportation systems to power grids. Networks describe how entities—people, objects, organisms, etc.—are connected and interact with each other. The focus is on relationships, what happens between things, not within them. By studying the patterns of connections between elements in a system we can learn some governing principles of physical, biological, and social phenomena.

Over the years, scientists from several fields have developed a set of tools for analyzing, modeling, and making predictions about complex systems using network science. Given the mathematical, computational, and statistical nature of these tools, visualizations have played a key role in network sciences by adding visual insight and intuition to the numerical analysis. Broadly speaking, information visualizations can help us make sense of complex phenomena by structuring data in ways that facilitate detection of patterns and trends, and ultimately, transform data into meaningful information.

The Art of Networks II brings together nineteen network visualizations examining issues in political and social sciences, biology, technology, transportation systems and cultural phenomena. The authors are representative of top visualization research labs and studios around the world who are producing some of the most innovative work in this area.

Physical network systems, such as transportation networks, provide the spatial attribute to locate both the elements (nodes) and relationships (links) into the spatial structure of maps, for example. Most networks, however, are of abstract data, such as those we find in social or cultural relationships, and do not have a priori spatial properties for positioning elements in the visualization. There are five projects in the exhibition where entities are geo-located and fourteen that use other types of layouts, such as node-link representations, that use symbolic elements to stand for nodes, and lines to represent the connections between them.

The large prints in the gallery provide a glimpse to the content and format chosen by the authors to visually examine recent topics. You can explore the corresponding interactive applications in the iPad station located at the window sill, or by pointing your smart device to the QR code located in each panel. To further learn about networks, visit the exhibition The Many Shapes of Networks.

Acknowledgements: The Art of Networks II was organized by Isabel Meirelles, information designer and Professor at OCAD University, Canada, in collaboration with Catherine Cramer, Stephen Uzzo and Marcia Rudy at the New York Hall of Science, and Ronaldo Menezes at the Florida Institute of Technology. The exhibit is being displayed in connection with the 6th International Workshop on Complex Networks (CompleNet).

The Art of Networks II would not be possible without the generosity of all authors who are participating in this special exhibition. 


The Refugee Project is an interactive map that uses United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees data and United Nations population data to tell the histories of refugee movements over time from 1975 to 2012. The map visualizes the size of refugee diasporas from dozens of unstable or repressive nations each year.

Concept, Design and Production by Hyperakt, a social impact design studio, and Ekene Ijeoma

Ekisto is an interactive visualization tool aimed at imagining and mapping online communities. Reproduced at the exhibition are the algorithmic portraits of Stack Overflow, a question and answer site for professional and enthusiast programmers, and of Github, a web-based code repository hosting service, where people share code and build things together.

Alex Dragulescu, visual artist, designer and programmer working at the intersection of art and technology

The Digital Attack Map is a live data visualization of Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks around the globe. The tool surfaces anonymous data related to these attacks, letting users explore historical trends and make the connection to related news events.

The collaborative team behind the application includes: Fernanda Viégas, Martin Wattenberg, Colin McMillen, CJ Adams. Google Ideas. Google Big Picture Team. Arbor Networks, Inc.

Sourcemap was conceived as a crowdsourcing platform open to the general public—a sort of Wikipedia for supply chains. Anyone can register to contribute knowledge about the various phases of a product’s transformation from raw material to finished good. The software draws the material flows on a map of the world, overlaid with impact metrics such as water use and carbon footprint.

Leonardo Bonanni, founder and CEO of Sourcemap

Visualizing MBTA Data
An interactive exploration of Boston’s subway system

The set of visualizations presents information about how Boston’s Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority (MBTA)  operates on a daily basis, how people use the system, how that affects the trains and also how this ties back to Bostonians daily commute. 

Mike Barry, software engineer at Twitter and Brian Card, software engineer at ViaSat.

The Clubs that connected the 2014 World Cup

Set of visualizations published at the New York Times in June 2014 for occasion of the World Cup held in Brazil. The interactive tools examine how the global tournament is mostly a remix of the professional leagues that are in season most of the time.

Gregor Aisch, graphics editor at the New York Times

Lostalgic is an online application that depicts ABC’s television series Lost. The application encourages both the analysis and enjoyment of the televised narrative by means of interacting with a set of visualizations. Visitors to the website can explore all 115 episodes of Lost in four ways, that includes a timeline, spherical node-link graphs and matrices depicting relationships between characters in each episode, and a reenactment of the whole show.

Santiago Ortiz, head at Moebio Labs

Friends in Space is a digital platform aimed at fostering real-time human connection between people from all over the world and the first Italian woman astronaut, Samantha Cristoforetti of the European Space Agency. The online application invites you to say hello and directly communicate with Cristoforetti insofar as she is orbiting your section of the Earth.

Accurat, data-driven research, design and innovation firm with offices in New York and Milan.

Connected China

Combining investigative journalism, data and historical context, Connected China offers five gateways to understanding China’s political structure. It was built for the iPad as an HTML5 application, and is available on the Web. This unique and powerful information engine was the result of a collaboration between Fathom Information Design and Thomson Reuters.

Fathom Information Design, a design and software consultancy

An Ecosystem of Corporate Politicians is an interactive visualization of the relationships between members of Portuguese governments and companies for the period of 1975 to 2013. Data is approached as an ecosystem, where each set of interdependent relations are regulated by physical conditions. 

Pedro Cruz, data visualization specialist and explorer

Online interactive visualization depicting multi-modal commuting patterns from a selected Hubway bike-sharing station to more than 8,000 MBTA bus/rail stops over the Boston metro area. Based on multiple objectives such as travel times, the number of transfers, and convenience, the tool presents optimal commuting patterns that are obtained using service information from the GTFS feed provided by the MBTA.

Virot “Ta” Chiraphadhanakul, data scientist at Facebook

Sequence Bundles is a novel visualization method that enables bioinformaticians and other scientists to explore biological sequence data: proteins, DNA and RNA. It allows researchers to gather new insight about their data, generate new hypotheses and potentially—further down the path—aid new discoveries in biology, drug development and beyond.

Science Practice  in collaboration with the Goldman Research Group at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, European Bioinformatics Institute

StratomeX is an open source visualization tool for cancer subtype analysis that allows experts to group patients based on multiple criteria toward discovery of relationships between such groupings. It combines visualization and algorithms in one interactive system to enable and speed up the scientific discovery process which can lead to more personalized treatment.

Harvard University (Cambridge, Mass.), Johannes Kepler University Linz (Austria) and Graz University of Technology (Austria).

Epidemic Rapid Transit Map

The visualization shows a hypothetical pandemic scenario with the same parameters pandemic starting in Hanoi, Vietnam. The epidemic simulations are performed with the Global Epidemic and Mobility model, that counts about 220 different countries and integrates an individual based epidemic dynamic with global air travel and short-scale traveling/ commuting data. 

Modeling of Biological and Socio-technical Systems (MOBS) Lab, Northeastern University, Boston.

More than 400,000 Stolen Years:
An Examination of U.S. Gun Murders

Using data from the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Report, the data exploration tool visualizes the gun murders that took place in 2010 and 2013.

Periscopic, data visualization firm.

The Life Cycle of Ideas explores the ebb and flow of scientific theories. It tries to capture how long a hypothesis lives in the collective consciousness of scientists before being either disproved or accepted. The infographic originally appeared in the May 2014 issue of Popular Science magazine.

Collaboration between Katie Peek, information editor at Popular Science and Accurat, a data-driven research, design and innovation firm with offices in New York and Milan.

Serendipity Search

Two visualizations depicting Columbia University Libraries collection: Catalog—an interactive visualization of the Columbia Library’s holdings, circulation and activity, and Crossing Disciplines—a digital library tool for multidisciplinary exploration.

The visualizations were developed at the Spatial Information Design Lab at Columbia University in collaboration with Columbia University Library.

EdgeMaps is a novel visualization technique aimed at showing the propagation of ideas and influence among philosophers across epochs and interests. The technique treats influence connections as explicit and similarities as implicit relations. A demo of EdgeMaps is available online. 

Marian Dörk, Institute for Urban Futures, Potsdam University of Applied Sciences (Germany), Sheelagh Carpendale and Carey Williamson, Department of Computer Science, University of Calgary (Canada)

The Iranian Internet between Freedom and Isolation

The series of infographics examines the complexities of internet censorship in Iran. It explains who the users are and how the authoritarian regime regulates the internet.

Maral Pourkazemi, design activist


Important Dates


    March 25-27, 2015

Big Data Fest
        March 28, 2015

Abstract/Paper Submission

    November 16, 2014

Author Notification

    December 2, 2014

Submission Camera-Ready

    December 15, 2014

Author Registration
    December 15, 2014

Early Registration Date

    January 12, 2015

The Art of Networks II was organized by Isabel Meirelles, Professor at the Faculty of Design at OCAD University in Toronto, Canada in collaboration with Catherine Cramer, Stephen Uzzo and Marcia Rudy at the New York Hall of Science. The exhibition was envisioned together with Ronaldo Menezes, Associate Professor at Florida Institute of Technology and director of the BioComplex Laboratory. This is the second event of this kind. The first was hosted at Foosaner Art Museum, Florida Institute of Technology

The Art of Networks wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of all the authors who are participating in this special exhibition.