Multi-Agent–Based Simulation of University Email Communities

In this chapter, a study on informal communication network formation in a university environment is presented. The teacher communication network is analyzed through community detection techniques. It is evident that informal communication is an important process that traverses the vertical hierarchical structure of departments and courses in a university environment. A multi-agent model of the case study is presented here, showing the implications of using real data as training sets for multi-agent-based simulations. The influence of the “social neighborhood,” as a mechanism to create assortative networks of contacts without full knowledge of the network, is discussed. It is shown that the radius of this social neighborhood has an effect on the outcome of the network structure and that in a university’s case this distance is relatively David M.S. Rodrigues_ Multi-Agent–Based Simulation of University Email Communities.

This book chapter is a spin-off of the work I’ve done previously with the CIUCEU model for university email communities, where I mixed agents simulations with community detection algorithms with real data to show that it’s possible to capture the structure of university communities even in the presence of noisy and incomplete data. The assortative nature of these communities is so strong that the agent simulation coupled with the other techniques gives good results in identifying them.