Saturday, 12 October 2013
Networks- Physics of the Web
The concept of 'six degrees of separation', proposed by Stanley Milgram, suggests that anyone in the world can be connected to anyone else by a chain of five or six acquaintances. Does the Internet follow this trend seen in social networks (small separation of nodes and high degrees of clustering)? Since we don't have a complete copy of the entire web, even search engine cover only around 16%, we can use a small finite sample of it to make an inference about the whole. Using 'finite size scaling', you can quantify the mean shortest distance between two nodes (numbers of clicks to get from a page to another page). Given there are around 1 billion nodes that make up the Web, this bring the 'small world' effect to 19 'clicks of separation'. Not all pairs of nodes can be internconnected given that the Web is not a directed network; a link leading from one page to another does not mean an inverse link exists, hence such a path of 19 clicks is not guaranteed.In most complex networks, nodes undergo competition for links. We can model this by giving each node a 'fitness factor' which quantifies its ability to compete, subsequently energy levels can be assigned to each node to produce a Bose gas (its lowest energy level representing the fittest node). The Bose gas evolves with time, adding new energy levels; such corresponds to the addition of novel nodes in the network. Two different outcomes can arise depending on the distribution of energy level selection: (1) 'fit get rich': as the energy level increases, particle level decreases (2) Bose-Einstein Condensation: the fittest node gains a large percentage of all links and manifests itself as a highly populated lowest energy level. Perhaps the Web is just another Bose-Einstein condensate?