By Mark Buchanan
As Chaos defined the technology of ailment, Nexus unearths the recent technology of connection and the strange common sense of six levels of separation."If you ever desired to understand how many hyperlinks attach you and the Pope, or why whilst the U.S. Federal Reserve financial institution sneezes the worldwide economic system catches chilly, learn this book," writes John L. Casti (Santa Fe Institute). This "cogent and interesting" (Nature) paintings provides the basic ideas of the rising box of "small-worlds" theory—the concept that a hidden development is the major to how networks have interaction and alternate info, no matter if that community is the data street or the firing of neurons within the mind. Mathematicians, physicists, machine scientists, and social scientists are operating to decipher this complicated organizational method, for it could actually yield a blueprint of dynamic interactions inside of our actual in addition to social worlds. Highlighting groundbreaking examine at the back of community idea, "Mark Buchanan's swish, lucid, nontechnical and interesting prose" (Mark Granovetter) records the mounting help between a number of disciplines for the small-worlds proposal and demonstrates its sensible functions to various problems—from the risky worldwide economic system or the Human Genome venture to the unfold of infectious affliction or ecological harm. Nexus is a thrilling advent to the hidden geometry that weaves our lives so inextricably jointly.
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Additional resources for Nexus: small worlds and the groundbreaking science of networks
Although no one could have known then, one of the most profound technological changes of modern times was at hand— the ironic consequence, at least in part, of Cold War machinations. The ARPANET was the original seed of today’s Internet, an immense network of networks that now involves close to 100 million computers in 250 countries. The Internet, and the World Wide Web that it has spawned, are some of the most impressive creations of our civilization and together represent a milestone in social history.
In the summer of 2001, however, the international journal Nature hosted a debate on the future of scientific publishing in the light of the Internet. More than twenty thousand scientists have signed a petition to create a Public Library of Science that would make all scientific literature freely available in electronic form over the Internet. The research paper itself is changing too. No more is it merely a two-dimensional passive document; now it can be linked to videos, computer simulations, databases—you name it.
Based on their investigations, Barabási and his colleagues concluded that the Web diameter, D, should have a logarithmic dependence on the total number, N, of documents on the Web. In mathematical jargon, this means that even if the number N gets a lot bigger, the number of clicks needed to navigate the Web will only increase a tiny bit. ” KINDS OF SMALL THE STUDIES DESCRIBED in this chapter may seem a bit abstract. What do all the results mean? In the previous chapter we learned how a network can be a small world while still being highly clustered.