Computer Analysis Visually Represents the Complexity and Scale of the Star Wars Universe

Wednesday, 10 February 2016 - 10:47AM
Wednesday, 10 February 2016 - 10:47AM
Computer Analysis Visually Represents the Complexity and Scale of the Star Wars Universe
The Star Wars franchise is so beloved partially as a result of its mind-boggling complexity and meticulous worldbuilding, with the films, TV shows, books, comics, video games, etc all contributing to the vast Star Wars universe. Much of the Expanded Universe may technically be defunct now, but it's still a part of the Star Wars canon in the form of "Legends," and now a detailed computer analysis has shown us just how huge and intricate this world really is.

A team of data scientists from Switzerland's École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne created a new computer program to analyze hundreds of webpages that detail the Star Wars universe, primarily Wookieepedia. Using this program, they were able to mine and analyze data on all of the characters, the connections between the characters, where everything fits into the timeline, and more.

First, They found that as of Christmas 2015, there are over 20,000 characters in the Star Wars universe (21,647, although that number dropped to 19,612 when excluding characters whose name began with "Unidentified" in the Wiki). They also found that these characters are primarily human, 78% human to be exact:

Star Wars Computer Analysis

Here is part of the graph of the algorithm that connects all of the characters in the Star Wars universe. Characters from different eras correspond to different colors, including Rise of the Empire (red), Rebellion era (blue), and both eras (green). The characters whose era affiliation was unclear were originally in black, but they used a label propagation algorithm to fill in the nodes with their most likely colors (if a character is primarily connected to other characters from the Rebellion era, he or she is most likely also from the Rebellion era, etc.)


Star Wars Computer Analysis

Here is the full timeline of the different eras, which spans over 36,000 years, and the distribution of characters in each era:

Star Wars Computer Analysis


Here are the full character connections graphs, each corresponding to the Light and Dark sides of the Force, respectively:


Star Wars Computer Analysis

Star Wars Computer Analysis

By counting the edges for each node of the graph, they were able to find the "most connected" characters of the Star Wars universe, or the ones that had connections to the most characters. Unsurprisingly, the characters are primarily from the films; the only character to solely appear in the Expanded Universe is Revan, a character who has been both a Jedi and Sith lord who originated in the Knights of the Old Republic video game.

Star Wars Computer Analysis

And here's the subgraph of the 20 most connected characters in the Star Wars universe and their myriad connections. For the full analysis and explanation, check out the blog of study leader and Star Wars fanatic Kirell Benzi.

Star Wars Computer Analysis


Via Gizmodo.
Science
Science of Sci-Fi

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