Wolfram Computation Meets Knowledge

Wolfram Summer School


Roberto Oliveri

Science and Technology

Class of 2017


Roberto is pursuing his PhD in theoretical physics at the Université libre de Bruxelles in Brussels, Belgium. Before that, he studied physics in Rome, and he graduated in theoretical and mathematical physics from Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München in Munich, Germany. His academic research interests include gravitational physics and high-energy astrophysics, with particular emphasis on black holes and gravitational waves. When he wants to take a break from physics, he usually travels, reads books or watches movies.

Computational Essay

Meissner Effect for Rotating Black Holes »

Project: Growth and Spreading of Topics on INSPIRE-HEP and arXiv.org

Goal of the project:

The project has a twofold goal. Given a keyword representing a scientific topic (e.g. entanglement, gravitational waves, etc.), we compute the number of occurrences of the keyword that appears in the abstracts of papers in a given time interval, and we study how papers about a specific topic are related to each other by analyzing the corresponding citations. In particular, we construct the citation graph associated with the topic, and we display its time evolution.

Summary of work:

As a preliminary step, we download an updated snapshot of record metadata in JSON format containing information about one million papers posted on INSPIRE-HEP. After adjusting the database to our purposes, we collect the abstracts year by year. The first goal is reached by using the built-in function StringCount, which counts how many times the keyword appears in the abstracts within a given time interval. Then we chart the occurrences by using DateListPlot, and a few examples of keyword searches are shown. The second goal is achieved by selecting those papers concerning the chosen topic and by associating each of these papers to their list of citations. We construct the corresponding citation graph and highlight the communities by centrality-based clustering criteria. We emphasize those papers whose position is relevant for the topology of the graph. Finally, we introduce a further time selection of papers (in addition to the topic selection) in order to display the time evolution of the graph.

Results and future work:

In this project, we defined a search engine that charts occurrences of any keyword in the abstracts of papers posted on INSPIRE-HEP and arXiv.org. As an example, we studied the occurrences of “LHC” and “Higgs” from 1985 to 2015. As expected, the “LHC” occurrences increase after the first run in 2008 and the “Higgs” occurrences increase soon after the announcement of the Higgs boson discovery in 2012. Another result is to emphasize those papers about one specific chosen topic that play an important role in the structure of the citations graph because of their high degree of centrality and not only because they are the most cited papers in the field. Future directions are to study the properties of the citation graph in detail.

Wolfram Summer School | Champaign, IL, USA | July 3 29–July 22, 2022