Six Degrees Of Separation
August 18, 2011 by USA Post
Six Degrees Of Separation, A classic experiment of sociology is to make treatment Facebook. This week, Yahoo Research launched a line of study to test the oft-repeated but still unsolved, the theory that anyone in the world can anyone in “six degrees of separation.” The use of Facebook and its social graph of 750 million users, Yahoo the “experiment Small World” invites people around the world trying to send a message to a particular “target” by creating a line string connections.
Led by Duncan Watts, principal research scientists of Yahoo Research, the study gives a touch of high technology in an experiment in 1967 by Harvard researcher Stanley Milgram. Although his conclusions were not final, which eventually led to the popular “six degrees” hypothesis.
Cameron Marlow, scientific research and Facebook “in-house sociologist”, said since the Facebook social graph is essentially the best representation of the available real-world relationships, “our data can speak more definitively this question than anything else in history. ”
“We believe that the average distance between two people is mainly due to the reduction of the types of connections to maintain on-line are represented far more people that you know that all people think on a regular basis,” he said. “The fact that all relationships are transcribed into something likes Facebook lets you keep in touch with a wider audience. This not only gives us a measure of how the world actually is but how well people relations can be used to route messages across the world. ”
Adweek Watts spoke to his study and highlight its roots, extracts follow.
Adweek: Describe the background to the study of Small World.
Watts: On the day of Milgram, which uses physical packages and had a single objective, the broker who lived on the outskirts of Boston, and had about 300 people trying to reach the goal. The result was famous for about 20 percent of the chains to reach the goal, and the average length of chains was 6 degrees.
What was the conclusion?
There are two ways to read this result. One is that the world is small because the strings were shorter by much shorter than people expected. The other way is that most chains do not get through, so you might suspect that the reason that happened is because most of the strings are really long and really the world is not connected. A minority of people can communicate with each other in a small number of steps, but most people cannot.
What is your hypothesis in this study?
This double interpretation is replicated in all other experiments [similar]. When we re-did this experiment 10 years ago, we used e-mail through a web interface and did a much larger scale. We had 18 different goals worldwide and 20,000 people trying to reach them and basically have the same result: a small fraction of the chains of reality achieved the objectives, and that is through very short term. But of course, you have to wonder about those who did not.
The story is that we have reasonable confidence that [for] the chains that did not happen, if people had kept moving along, then about half of them reach their goals in seven steps or less. That is the hypothesis we are working.
How to help Facebook?
The problem I have had all experiments, and the problem we are trying to address with this, is you never know what the ground truth. You know there’s something out there on the network that connects people involved, and you know that messages are being passed along the top of this network. The problem is that you can not see network below them do not know if people are taking the right decisions, I do not know if the strings are as short as possible and do not know why the chains are not completing are staying.
The main difference is that Facebook [is] the network through these messages that are going on. We can see how everyone on Facebook is really connected to everyone else. We can see if people can find these shortcuts. In previous experiments that had gone this wallpaper, but now we have the background and can perform the experiment on top of it.
So this experiment tested whether people really are six degrees of separation from each other?
In fact, there are two versions of the small world hypothesis. One is what we call topology, [which means] the structure of the underlying network. There is an enormous amount of evidence those different types of networks – social networks, neural networks, and other networks -
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