Week 1: Linked

When I first started reading Linked by Barabasi, I was pleasantly surprised at how easy the book was to understand for someone who is just starting to understand networks. Barabasi talks about how networks are everywhere, even in science and math, which I was surprised about. For Barabasi to be able to relate phase transition when he talks about how physicists see connections to a sociologist seeing a community was really interesting. When I came into this course, my understanding of a network meant computers and the Internet, after reading Linked, I had learned that networks are so much more.

        In this picture, nodes and links are shown. It makes it easy to see that the links are what connects us (http://mathinsight.org/network_introduction)

Euler, who was a mathematician, introduced the idea of graph theory, which is composed of nodes and links; these are the basis of network theory. We can use nodes and links to talk about different networks. A computer is linked by wires; a business can be linked to other businesses and consumers. Barabasi talks about how if we are at a party and we don’t know anyone there, that humans have a desire to talk to each other so they will start having conversations with each other and form connections. In this situation the guests are the nodes and each time they interact with others, that would be a link. It relates to the idea that people in the U.S. can be connected by six handshakes, which is known as six degrees of separation. Networks are everywhere in our daily lives, they are what connects us to each other.

            In this picture, it shows the six degrees of separation. This picture shows the six in the middle and from there, many connections are shown between them. (http://www.scielo.br/scielo.php?script=sci_arttext&pid=S1807-17752011000300009)

Networks have evolved throughout the years and they will continue to do so. There will be new technology and new ideas each year. Even since this book came out there have been many advances through the years. I am excited to see the many changes that are still to come. It goes to show that networks really are everywhere just as Barabasi suggests.

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