Duncan J. Watts:
"Six Degrees: The Science of the Connected Age"
Alex (Sandy) Pentland
Wednesday, February 12, 2003, 4:00 PM EST
Bartos Theatre, MIT Media Lab (E15)
The link will become active on the date and time scheduled for this event.
We've all heard about "Six Degrees of Separation." What most people
don't know is how important this concept is for understanding the connected
systems that make up our modern world.
Between the Internet and email, cell phones and satellites, friends
and family, highways and airports, we are continuously surrounded by
and subjected to a world of networksoften bewilderingly so. Whether
they bind computers, economies, or terrorist organizations, networks
are everywhere in the real world; yet, until recently, the fundamental
nature of the networks themselves has remained shrouded in mystery.
But in the past few years, a new generation of research has commenced
that is rapidly revealing the rules by which networks grow, the
patterns they form, and the way in which they drive collective behavior.
Starting from the story of the "small world problem," from which the
idea of six degrees was derived, Watts will describe the science of
networks and its relevance to a range of problems, from epidemics of
disease to outbreaks of market madness; from individuals searching for
information to business firms surviving crisis and change; and from the
structure of personal relationships to the technological and social
choices of entire societies.
Duncan J. Watts is associate professor of sociology at Columbia
University, and an external faculty member of the Santa Fe Institute.
He holds BSc in physics from the University of New South Wales, and
a PhD in theoretical and applied mechanics from Cornell University.
MIT Media Laboratory Home Page | Events Main Index