The Art of Financial Network Science

The Art of Financial Network Science

There was an amazing array of images of financial networks at the seminar on Financial Risk and Network Theory to launch the new journal on Network Theory in Finance. Have a look at these visualizations from some of the 23 presentations. Which do you like best and why?

A
B
C
D
1
2
3
4
5
6

Financial networks are abstract representations of relationships, and yet they are critical in understanding connectivity, contagion, and systemic risk. Communicating these connections has become an art form in its own right.

Network diagrams present vast amounts of data in a single picture. The human eye sees patterns in this data – we easily perceive density clusters, structure and shape, but not detail. The images are too complex to see many individual data points, but that is the point. Most diagrams convey the form and hierarchical structure of the data. It provides a high-level map of the topography. This is what Kimmo Soramaki, the Editor-in-Chief of the new journal, calls “Financial Cartography”.

The art form of this new science is developing rapidly, with its leading proponents experimenting with representational technique, algorithms, colour, levels of detail, and the narrative of what they are trying to convey.

Which of these do you like as abstract images as works of art for your wall? Which are most successful in helping you understand how the financial world works?

Tamara Evan

Tamara Evan

Tamara Evan is the head of Geopolitical Research at the Centre for Risk Studies, Cambridge Judge Business School. She supports the Centre’s work on geopolitical and technological risks and heads research into the emerging threat of cyber terrorism to infrastructure.

6 Responses to The Art of Financial Network Science

  1. I think I like B5 best. It has a flow that is planar, suggesting geographical relations as well as network relations.

  2. I like the way that there is so much experimentation in this field at present. I like those that combine formal geometries – circles are the most common representation of equally-ranked nodes – and colour coding. Dark backgrounds make the most striking images, in my opinion. My favourites as images are A1, C3, D3, B5, and C5. Where do I buy the T-shirts?

  3. For abstract images, I like C5 and B5 for being very striking images.
    For understanding connections in the financial world, you can spend a lot of time on any one picture! Try B2 and C6.

  4. […] As with last year, there was a great display of varied and colourful financial network visualisations on show. Network diagrams present vast amounts of data in a single picture. The human eye sees patterns in this data – we easily perceive density clusters, structure and shape, but not detail. The images are too complex to see many individual data points, but that is the point. Most diagrams convey the form and hierarchical structure of the data. It provides a high-level map of the topography. This is what Kimmo Soramaki, the Editor-in-Chief of the new journal, calls “Financial Cartography”. […]

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