Social and Information Networks

PIMS-SFU 20th Anniversary Celebration: Nataša Pržulj - Data Driven Medicine

Nataša Pržulj
Fri, Nov 25, 2016
PIMS, Simon Fraser University
PIMS 20th Anniversary Celebration

The Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS) was founded in 1996, and Simon Fraser University is a founding member. The members of PIMS now include all the major Canadian research universities west of Ontario, as well as universities in Washington and Oregon. Please join us to celebrate 20 years of productive collaboration, with a lecture by SFU alumna and professor at UCL Nataša Pržulj on Data Driven Medicine followed by a reception.


We are faced with a flood of molecular and clinical data. Various biomolecules interact in a cell to perform biological function, forming large, complex systems. Large amounts of patient-specific datasets are available, providing complementary information on the same disease type. The challenge is how to model and mine these complex data systems to answer fundamental questions, gain new insight into diseases and improve therapeutics. Just as computational approaches for analyzing genetic sequence data have revolutionized biological and medical understanding, the expectation is that analyses of networked “omics” and clinical data will have similar ground-breaking impacts. However, dealing with these data is nontrivial, since many questions we ask about them fall into the category of computationally intractable problems, necessitating the development of heuristic methods for finding approximate solutions.

We develop methods for extracting new biomedical knowledge from the wiring patterns of large networked biomedical data, linking network wiring patterns with function and translating the information hidden in the wiring patterns into everyday language. We introduce a versatile data fusion (integration) framework that can effectively integrate somatic mutation data, molecular interactions and drug chemical data to address three key challenges in cancer research: stratification of patients into groups having different clinical outcomes, prediction of driver genes whose mutations trigger the onset and development of cancers, and re-purposing of drugs for treating particular cancer patient groups. Our new methods stem from network science approaches coupled with graph-regularised non-negative matrix tri-factorization, a machine learning technique for co-clustering heterogeneous datasets.

Coordination Cascades: Sequential Choice in the Presence of a Network Externality

B. Curtis Eaton,
David Krause
Fri, Oct 7, 2005
University of Calgary, Calgary, Canada
Alberta Conference on Industrial Organization
In the network externality literature, little, if any attention has been paid to the process through which consumers coordinate their adoption decisions. The primary objective of this paper is to discover how effectively rational individuals manage to coordinate their choices in a sequential choice framework. Since individuals make their choices with minimal information in this setting, perfect coordination will rarely be achieved, and it is therefore of some interest to discern both the extent to which coordination may be achieved, and the expected cost of the failure to achieve perfect coordination. We discover that when it counts, that is when the network externality is large, a substantial amount of coordination is achieved, and although perfect coordination is never guaranteed, expected relative efficiency is large.
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