Information Flow in Networks : Trendsetters, Bellwethers and Shepherd Dogs

Y. Altshuler, A. Pentland


The rapid expansion of “social network research” is an exciting and unique phenomenon taking place in the last decade. Networks, from their essential definition, serve as an infrastructure for communication — either explicit (e.g. phone calls or emails), implicit (e.g. social signals), or a combination thereof (e.g. online social service such as Facebook or Flicker ). As such, a fundamental aspect that must be addressed in order to truly comprehend networks, is the particular way they interact with and influence information that flows through them. Specifically, when addressing this issue, our goals should be threefold.

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