The Cartographer’s Tradeoff

Given that we’re all working on maps, I found the introduction to the scientific paper that Ted is using for his algorithm relevant. Check out the full PDF: “Maps of random walks on complex networks reveal community structure”, but I’ve pasted a snippet for you:

To create a good map, the cartographer must attain a fine balance between omitting important structures by oversimplification, and obscuring significant relationships in a barrage of superfluous detail. The best maps convey a great deal of information, but require minimal bandwidth: the bestmaps are also good compressions. By adopting an information-theoretic approach, we can measure how efficiently a map represents the underlying geography— and we can measure how much detail is lost in the process of simplification. This allows us to quantify and resolve the cartographer’s tradeoff.

Rosvall, Bergstrom. 2007.

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