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Networked Life by Mung Chiang

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9 Can I really reach anyone in six steps?

In the last chapter, we saw the importance of topology to functionality. In this and the next chapters, we will focus on generative models of network topology and reverse-engineering of network functionality. These are mathematical constructions that try to explain widespread empirical observations about social and technological networks: the “small world” property and the “scale free” property. We will also highlight common misunderstandings and misuse of generative models.

9.1     A Short Answer

Since Milgram’s 1967 experiment, the small world phenomenon, or the six degrees of separation, has become one of the most widely told stories in popular science books. Milgram asked 296 people living in ...

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