Friday, December 17, 2004

Six Degrees: Seminar with Duncan Watts Jan 12

Professor David Lazer organizes a fine series at Harvard's Kennedy School, "The Cambridge Colloquium on Complexity and Social Networks (CCCSN)." Next month the series features a notable seminar. Thanks to David for allowing me to share this:

Duncan Watts
Columbia University

"Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age "

(videoconferenced from Zurich)

with comment by Stephen Borgatti, Boston College
Wednesday, January 12, 2004
Swiss Consulate,420 Broadway,Cambridge,MA
Please RSVP:
This seminar is co-sponsored by the National Center for Digital Government

We've all heard of the small world phenomenon - the idea that each one of us can be connected to everyone else through only "six degrees of separation." But where did this idea come from? Is it true? And if it is, what implications does it have for the problems of modern society? This talk sketches out the scholarly history of the small world problem (alongside its meteoric rise in popular culture), from its origins in sociology to an explosion of recent work in physics and mathematics. The lecture also discusses the importance of "six degrees" to a range of issues, from individuals searching for jobs and organizations solving complex problems, to the spread of disease epidemics and the cascade-like dynamics of cultural fads. In the modern world, it is not sufficient simply to recognize that we are all connected; we must understand both the patterns of those connections and they way they drive our individual and collective behavior.

The conferernce is cosponsored by TAICON. TAICON is a trans-Atlantic initiative, based at Harvard and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH), that brings together research on social networks and complexity. It is co-chaired by David Lazer and Lars-Erik Cederman(ETH).

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