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The Engineer
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Barabasi's Work

04/07/2005 10:45 AM

Albert-Laszlo Barabasi is a Physics Professor at Notre Dame who studies Self-Organized Networks. This can span anything from bacteria to the internet. Professor Barabasi is an interesting guy, take a look if you get a chance.

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The Feature Creep

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#1

So in short...

04/07/2005 11:47 AM

After reading http://physicsweb.org/articles/world/14/7/9/1 It looks like he is making 4 big points:

1) There is always a method in every madness.
Intuitively the answer is no - we all feel that behind every complex system there is an underlying network with non-random topology. The challenge for physicists is to unearth the signatures of order from the apparent chaos of millions of nodes and links.

2) It's not what you know, it's who you know.
In contrast, the power-law distribution implies that there is an abundance of nodes with only a few links, and a small - but significant - minority that have a very large number of links.

3) There is nothing new under the sun.
It came as a surprise, therefore, when Duncan Watts of Columbia University and Steven Strogatz of Cornell University found that many networks in nature, such as the brain of the worm C. elegans, as well as the network of movie actors in Hollywood and the network of power lines in western America, simultaneously have a small node separation and display a high degree of clustering.

4) Everything is survival of the fitness.
This competition for links can be incorporated into the scale-free model by adding a "fitness", etai, to each node, i, to describe its ability to compete for links at the expense of other nodes. A Web page with good up-to-date content and a friendly interface, for example, has a greater fitness than a low-quality page that is only updated occasionally.

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The Engineer
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#2
In reply to #1

Re:So in short...

04/07/2005 12:04 PM

I agree with your points. To make a point of my own, I think it's much more fruitful to study the self organization of the web and find ways to exploit it rather than to force an limited organization scheme upon it.

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