Review: Albert-László Barabási’s ‘Linked’

On: September 19, 2007
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cover of LinkedBarabási – a physics professor and has build an honourable reputation in the field of network theory -describes two paradigms. A world of a (1) ‘random network theory’ that Paul Erdös and Alfréd Rényi – two mathematical geniuses – have introduced. This is based on the idea that nodes within a network interconnect randomly. According to Barabási, this notion was fallible.

Our tiny robot returned from the Web with a network that was drastically different from the predictions of both [Erdös and Rényi. red] models. It carried home a bunch of […] nodes with an extraordinarily large number of links” [2002:54]

He supported the notion of (2) a network distributed by a ‘power law’ model. Apparently, networks are depending on special nodes. These nodes submerge on the Web (Yahoo, Amazon), telephone networks and social networks (popular people). This breakthrough of using the ‘power law’ distribution in relation to ‘scale free’ networks has brought about new ways of thinking of living organisms, social networks of people and social contacts, economic networks of business relations and terrorist networks.

Barabási is able to express himself in a clear manner, without using difficult jargon or mathematical gibberish. His findings are supported by amusing anecdotes. For example, the ‘six degrees of separation’ gives an interesting inside in the number of connected networks that are necessary to randomly assemble world citizens. I have to face the fact that there are only six networks between myself and someone like president Bush! These findings will keep me informed on network theory.

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