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Posts Tagged ‘Albert-László Barabási’

Riding reductionism, we run into the hard wall of complexity.  We have learned that nature is not a well designed puzzle with only one way to put it back together.  In complex systems the components can fit in so many different ways that it would take billions of years for us to try them all.  Yet nature assembles the pieces with a grace and precision honed over the millions of years.  It does so by exploiting the all-encompassing laws of self-organization, whose roots are still largely a mystery to us.
   —  Albert-László Barabási
From his book: “Linked: The New Science of Networks
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On This Day In:
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2014 Likes And Dislikes
2013 Pillars Of Learning
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Today we increasingly recognize that nothing happens in isolation.  Most events and phenomena are connected, caused by, and interacting with a huge number of other pieces of a complex universal puzzle.  We have come to see that we live in a small world, where everything is linked to everything else.  We are witnessing a revolution in the making as scientists from all different disciplines discover that complexity has a strict architecture.  We have come to grasp the importance of networks.
   —   Albert-László Barabási
From his book:  “Linked: The New Science of Networks
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On This Day In:
2014 Just Support
2013 Wandering Free
2012 Contribute = Paying Taxes
2011 How Will You Be Judged?

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Most systems displaying a high degree of tolerance against failures share a common feature: Their functionality is guaranteed by a highly interconnected complex network. …  It seems that nature strives to achieve robustness through interconnectivity.  Such universal choice of a network architecture is perhaps more than mere coincidence.
  —  Albert-Lászó Barabási
From his book: “Linked: The New Science of Networks
[I find myself wondering if a similar “tolerance”, “robustness” and “interconnectivity” exist and are demonstrable within mankind’s social network.  —  KMAB]
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On This Day In:
2013 What Have We Here?
2012 Tributaries And Eddies
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2011 Penultimate

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Here’s two more books which fall under the general category of “Serendipity and Chaos“.  They are: “What The Dog Saw” (2009©) and “Linked” (2002©).
The first, “What The Dog Saw“, was written by Malcolm Gladwell.  Gladwell is science-popularizer style writer in the vein of Isaac Asimov.  Basically, he looks for interesting areas of science and then explains them to the general public.  This is the fourth book by Gladwell which I own and have read.  The others are: “The Tipping Point“, “Outliers” and “Blink“.  Those three books are single source texts.  This book is a compilation of a number of stories from his articles previously published in The New Yorker.
The book is divided into three sections and the articles (chapters) are meant to focus around the group headings, which are:  1) Obsessives, Pioneers, and Other Varieties of Minor Genius; 2) Theories, Predictions and Diagnoses; and, 3) Personality, Character and Intelligence.  Unfortunately, the group titles do not provide adequate descriptions of the individual articles.  It is enough to say, that each chapter is a mini-book in itself and Gladwell is a very good writer (at least his writing suits MY tastes).  I won’t describe the articles individually except to say the book title comes from the story about Cesar Milan, aka “The Dog Whisperer“.  Most reviews of Milan’s techniques describe what we humans see when he is training the animals.  This article poses the questions: “What does the dog see?” and directly related: “Is that what makes the technique work?”
Bottom line: like Gladwell’s other three books, this is Highly Recommended!!
The second book is: “Linked“, and was written by Albert-László Barabási.  In this book, the author attempts to explain the current state of network theory.  The first couple of chapters cover the history of network theory and then we are quickly shifted into “current” (circa 1990-2002) theory.  The author contends there are three basic types of networks – “centralized”, “decentralized”, and “distributed”.  The author goes on to explain why he feels distributed networks are emergent and how they exist in a broad range of settings, hardware, software, social, economic and biological.  He has an additional premise they are distributed because there are inherent fail-over mechanisms in them which support the network in ways the other two networks simply can’t reproduce.  Most significantly, from my point of view, he is the first person I’ve heard explain both the “rich-get-richer” and the “winner-takes-all” results of distributed networking concepts in economics.  Finally, the author provides an explanation of the concept of “power law” and how it acts in the context of networking – and he does it with a minimum of formulae and in plain English.  All in all, I found this book a fascinating read and highly recommend it.
Gladwell’s was a $2 clearance book from Half-Price Books and Barabási’s was a discounted (used) book purchased from my $50 Amazon birthday gift card.  The book cost more to ship than to buy!  Very good values, if I do say so myself!!
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