Software & Curriculum

Prototype interactive software may be downloaded at this link: Network Interactives (31.4MB)

The above zip archives contains two software tools: Network Optimizer and Network Attack.

For Network Optimizer, launch by opening [mac/win]-­‐netopt. Use the various controls to construct a network and then save it to a file using the Export button.

Network Attack compares how different attack strategies affect different networks. Launch it by opening [mac/win]-­‐netattack. Next, load up some networks using the File > Import command. Once you have the networks that you are interested in analyzing loaded open them on the right and left using the Network drop down. Next select an Attack Type for each network. Now press the Step button to observe how deleting nodes affects the network. When a node is deleted it is displayed (somewhat confusingly) in black and any connections to it are displayed in grey. As the attack proceeds and the network breaks into clusters each cluster is colored by its size with blue meaning a cluster the size of the entire network and red meaning a totally isolated cluster.

There are many possibilities to improve these software tools for use in educational environments:

  • Make it Tangible — Abstract networks can be somewhat imposing. By instead using real examples of networks it should be possible to create an interactive that resonates much more strongly with the audience. What are some broadly appealing examples of networks that we can use?
  • Organize Around Concepts — The current tools are organized around the details of the implementation. This feels arbitrary to the user. The tools should instead be divided up by concepts that build on each other. What are the key concepts that we wish to communicate?
  • Aesthetics — The current software feels boring and lifeless. What are the emotions that we are trying to evoke in our audience?

Do you have feedback or other comments? If so, please contact Paul Trunfio at trunfio@bu.edu