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?
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?