Researchers' paper on complex networks honored as milestone contribution


UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – A research paper authored by three Penn State researchers has been honored by the prestigious peer-reviewed scientific journal Physical Review E (PRE) as part of the publication’s ongoing 25th anniversary celebration. 

Usha Nandini Raghavan, a Penn State alumna, Réka Albert, distinguished professor of physics and biology and Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce and Allen M. Pierce Professor of Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering co-authored the paper, titled “Near linear time algorithm to detect community structures in large-scale networks.”  

The label propagation algorithm for clustering large networks of millions of nodes developed by the researchers is now widely used as a part of such computing and statistical software as iGraph Library, Java, Python and R.

To mark PRE’s 25th anniversary and celebrate its rich legacy, the journal's editorial board and editors are selecting 25 seminal papers, one for each year from 1993 through 2017. Each paper has been chosen for making important contributions to the field of multi-body phenomena over the last quarter of a century.  

The paper by the Penn State researchers appeared in the September 2007 issue of the journal and was selected as the milestone article for that year. All of the milestone articles are featured on the PRE website

Published by the American Physical Society, PRE features research on multi-body phenomena, which is an area of physics that deals with effects that occur exclusively in systems that contain a large number of parts. The refereed journal covers developments in complex fluids, polymers, liquid crystals and granular materials, and includes sections on solid mechanics, fluid dynamics, plasma physics, computational physics, networks and complex systems.

Raghavan, who graduated from Penn State in 2008 with doctoral degree in industrial engineering and operations research, was co-advised by Kumara and Albert, and is now a radiology solutions scientist at Philips. 


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Pamela Krewson Wertz 

Soundar Kumara

Soundar Kumara, Allen E. Pearce and Allen M. Pierce Professor

Réka AlbertRéka Albert, Distinguished Professor of Physics and Biology

Usha Nandini RaghavanAlumna Usha Nandini Raghavan ('08 Ph.D.)



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