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D Watts Six Degrees CSSP

D Watts Six Degrees CSSP

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1
The “New”Science of Networks 
Duncan Watts 
Yahoo! Research Columbia University 
Outline
The Small World Problem
 –Aka“Six Degrees of Separation”
Small World Networks“Network Science”Some examples of why it matters
 –Disease Spreading and Epidemics –Social Influence –Networks and Networking
Challenges and Opportunities
How “Small”is the World?
“Six degrees of separation between us andeveryone else on this planet”
 –John Guare, 1990
An urban myth?First mentioned in 1920’s by Karinthy1950’s Pool and Kochenfirst posed it as amath problem involving network structureFirst became famous in1960’s as a result ofan ingenious experiment
The Small World Experiment
Stanley Milgram(and student Jeffrey Travers)designed an experiment based on Pool andKochen’swork
 –A single “target”in Boston –300 initial “senders”in Boston and Omaha –Each sender asked to forward a packet to a friendwho was “closer”to the target –The friends got the same instructions
Protocol generated 300 “letter chainsofwhich 64 reached the target.Found that typical chain length was 6Led to the famous phrase (Guare)
Ego1Egos friends100Their friends100
2
= 10K
100
5
= 10 billion > Earth’s Population!
Back of the envelope explanation
Critical Property: When number of friends small compared to population,and social ties created at randomprobability of Ego’s friends being friends of each other is negligible
A problem…
Random ties, however, are
not 
realisticIn reality, social networks exhibit
 –Homophily (Merton and Lazarzfeld, 1954) –Triadic closure (Rapoport, 1957) –Focal closure (Feld, 1981) –Spatial dependency (Festingeret al. 1950)
Result is structure at multiple scales:
 –Clustering in network neighborhoods –Group affiliations –Communities and Organizations –Cities, states, and nations
 
2
Interesting 
Small World Problemis therefore:
How is it possible for Social Networks to be:
 – 
Very highly ordered
locally 
(like social groups), and
 – 
Still be “small”
globally 
? (like random networks)
Problem is that
Structure 
makes Analysis Hard
 – 
It was theoretical difficulty that led to Milgram’sexperimental approach in the first place
After Milgram, not much done for 30 years
 –Theory impossible with pencil and paper –Experiments are hard to perform –Large-scale network data hard to collect
Arrival of modern computers and theInternet enabled new approachesUsing simulation approach, Watts andStrogatz(1998) asked: what are theconditions required for
any 
network to be1.Locally “orderedand2.Globally “small”?
Small World Networks
Rewiring 
networks fromOrder to Randomness
Increasing randomness
 p = 0p = 1
Path Length (L)and Clustering (C)
= 0 (Ordered)
= 1 (Random)
 L
n
34
 L
ln
n
ln
n
0
LargeHighSmallLow
Intuition: the world can be
either 
“large and highly clustered”,
or 
“small and poorly clustered”,but
not 
“small and highly clustered”
Path Length
L(p) 
and Clustering
C(p) 
versus Random Rewiring
(p) 
normalizedby their values at
p=0 
00.20.40.60.81.0001.001.01.11
C(p)/C(0) L(p)/L(0) 
Small-World Networks
Main result:
 –For large
, a small
fraction
(
) of shortcuts willcontract (global)
Length 
, but leave (local)
Clustering 
unchanged.Required conditions are trivial –Some source of “order” –Some source of randomness
Conclusions:
 –Small-World Networks are generic –Should be widespread –Not confined to social networks
 
3
Movie Actor Graph (Aka“TheKevin Bacon Game”)
Power Transmission Grid of Western US
C. Elegans 
Neural network of
C. elegans 
Almost ten years later…
We (collectively) have a good understandingof how the small world phenomenon worksAlso starting to understand othercharacteristics of large-scale networksNew theories, better models, fastercomputers, and electronic recording allcontributing to rapid scientific advanceResult has been called “Science of Networks”
 –2005 NAS report on Network Science –Many ideas borrowed from “network analysis”and graph theory but many new ideas as well
Physical
 –Power grids, roads, airlines, Internet
Biological
 –Neural, metabolic, genetic, ecological
Social
 –Friendships, affiliations, sexual
Organizational
 –Firms, markets, governments, NGO’s
Knowledge
 –Citations, words, WWW
Networks are Everywhere 

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