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Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age de [Watts, Duncan J.]
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Six Degrees: The Science of a Connected Age Versión Kindle

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Longitud: 376 páginas Word Wise: Activado Tipografía mejorada: Activado
Volteo de página: Activado Idioma: Inglés

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Descripción del producto


"Duncan Watts is so clear and so readable about one of the world's most mystifying subjects that he will probably leave you with your thinking changed forever." -- Alan Alda "Starred Review. Watts smoothly combines a historical survey of the field with real-world examples. Well-done [and] comprehensive." "Here is a wonderful science book you won't want to put down...relevant to an amazing variety of subjects, including epidemics, markets, scientific collaboration, and terrorism." -- Murray Gell-Mann, Nobel Laureate in physics, cofounder of the Santa Fe Institute "Written in as accessible and jaunty a fashion as James Watson's Double Helix, Six Degrees provides a deft, informative, and deeply engaging story of how the multidisciplinary science of networks has come into being." -- Robert K. Merton, University Professor Emeritus, Columbia University "This is a story that is both personal and remarkable for its ability to convey the wonder of complex science." -- Bill Miller, CEO of Legg Mason Funds "Watts's insights into the interconnections that bind us together...offer a vital new framework for understanding our global society." -- Jeffrey D. Sachs, Director of the Earth Institute, Columbia University

Descripción del producto

The pioneering young scientist whose work on the structure of small worlds has triggered an avalanche of interest in networks.

In this remarkable book, Duncan Watts, one of the principal architects of network theory, sets out to explain the innovative research that he and other scientists are spearheading to create a blueprint of our connected planet. Whether they bind computers, economies, or terrorist organizations, networks are everywhere in the real world, yet only recently have scientists attempted to explain their mysterious workings.

From epidemics of disease to outbreaks of market madness, from people searching for information to firms surviving crisis and change, from the structure of personal relationships to the technological and social choices of entire societies, Watts weaves together a network of discoveries across an array of disciplines to tell the story of an explosive new field of knowledge, the people who are building it, and his own peculiar path in forging this new science.

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  • Formato: Versión Kindle
  • Tamaño del archivo: 1915 KB
  • Longitud de impresión: 376
  • Números de página - ISBN de origen: 0393325423
  • Editor: W. W. Norton & Company; Edición: Reprint (17 de febrero de 2004)
  • Vendido por: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Idioma: Inglés
  • ASIN: B00256Z3B8
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  • Tipografía mejorada: Activado
  • Valoración media de los clientes: 4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas 2 opiniones de clientes
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Formato: Versión Kindle Compra verificada
Es un libro que trata sobre la, tan de moda, Ciencia de Redes (Network Science). Me ha parecido muy interesante y entretenido. Es un libro de divulgación aderezado con numerosos pasajes autobiográficos, presentando la ciencia desde dentro, alejada de triunfalismos, con las dudas y casualidades que abundan en las investigaciones.
Muy recomendable.
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este debe ser el primero en leerse apra entrar en el tema de redes. Mejor que el de barabasi, pero mabos valen. ( tienen algunas diferencias de contanido pero son esencialemtne lo mismo)
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Opiniones de clientes más útiles en (beta) 4.3 de un máximo de 5 estrellas 49 opiniones
61 de 65 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas An entertaining and illuminating read! 19 de marzo de 2003
Por Un cliente - Publicado en
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Contrary to some recent remarks from an apparently aggrieved reader, I think Six Degrees is actually quite different from most books claiming to cover new and exciting scientific developments. Far from being self-aggrandizing, I found it's tone remarkably humble and generous to others. Watts, in fact, is the first person to call his subject the "new" science of networks, and goes to considerable lengths to acknowledge, even glorify, his intellectual predecessors. He doesn't mention every scientist who has made contributions: it's not meant to be a text book, thankfully.
Watts also has bigger fish to fry than simply the importance of networks in everything under the sun. His real message is that social reality has to be understood both in terms of the way people are connected and also the way they behave. So focusing on individual behavior to the exclusion of their interactions misses half the story, but so does just focusing on the interactions (as much of network theory has done). It's true that many of the ideas are quite old (and Watts again is the first to point this out), but the way they are put together is new, and that is what is so interesting about it.
The results are often quite deep and thought provoking, which means you have to actually read the book to understand what's in it, but Watts always comes up with an entertaining anecdote or analogy to make even the hardest concepts palatable and interesting. Overall, it's a great, fun read about a fascinating subject that really makes you think. And what more can you ask from a book?
61 de 69 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas many degrees from Kevin Bacon? 9 de mayo de 2003
Por Dr. Cathy Goodwin - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa dura
I've always been fascinated by social networks, having read Granovetter's work on strong vs. weak ties. As a career coach, I naturally talk to clients about the joys and frustrations of networking -- and I loved the movie "Six degrees of separation."
If you're looking for an easy piece of entertainment, this is not the book for you. Watts shows how this field has advanced by combining research efforts in information science, physics, mathematics and sociology. We look over his shoulder as he collaborates with other scientists to solve tough problems -- and get a glimpse of modern science in action (although I think Watts emphasizes the more positive, cooperative aspects of "doing science").
Students of psychology will enjoy his discussion of Milgram's famous experiment -- messages mailed to a Boston stockbroker -- and the real, as compared to legendary, results. Milgram's even more outrageous obedience experiment, which Watts includes, also deserves a footnote: subjects refused to obey (a) when the experimenter broke the rules and gave reasons for the order and (b) when they were able to reconstruct their roles outside the laboratory.
I began by borrowing this book from a library but realized that it needs to be owned. It's not a quick, one-time read. Although it's accessible, you have to pay attention and I found a need to read sequentially, from chapter to chapter. But if you read carefully, you'll change the way you look at the world.
As other reviewers have noted, Watts shows how daily life is influenced by properties of networks: Why do some viruses, computer and biological, spread, and why others come to a quick halt? Why do airline hub-and-spoke networks often break down? How do computer searches work and what makes them effective?
We're living in an increasingly connected world and this book will help us see and understand the connections more clearly. I think it's a must for anyone who wants to comprehend our world today.
34 de 37 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Excellent for its audience 29 de abril de 2006
Por Michael Bishop - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa blanda
I wrote this book review as an assignment for a class. Its intended audience was sociologists unfamiliar with network theory. The intended audience for the book though is much wider. If you want the math, read academic journals.

In the first chapter of Six Degrees Duncan Watts notes that gossip, power outages, epidemics, even properties of the human brain such as consciousness are phenomena that may be understood as emerging from the interaction of their constituent elements. Through such examples, he calls attention to the broad applicability of his subject matter. Having provided this motivation, Watts spends much of first half of the book discussing what he knows best, "small world" networks. In the second half he presents a network perspective for a wide range of topics such as epidemics, externalities, speculation, social decision making, and organizations.

Like many academics marketing books to non-academics, Watts skillfully weaves his personal story with the science. His personal story is not only provided to keep laymen interested. Watts is now a member of the sociology department at Columbia University, but one can't help but wonder whether he identifies as a sociologist? How would other members of the discipline respond to a youngster whose PhD is in theoretical and applied mechanics who may never have read Durkheim? His early collaborators were mathematicians, physicists, and computer scientists lodged in appropriate departments. Watts though, has become a strong proponent of interdisciplinary science, and he respectfully acknowledges research that has been done in anthropology, sociology, psychology and economics.

His first foray in the social sciences was inspired by the "small world" phenomenon. When two people are surprised to learn they have mutual acquaintances, someone often says, "It's a small world." In 1967, social psychologist Stanley Milgram decided to investigate how small the world really is. He tasked randomly selected residents of Boston and Omaha with getting a letter to a stockbroker who lived in Massachusetts. The rule was, they could only send the letter to people they knew on a first name basis. Amazingly, the letters that reached their destination usually did it in just 6 steps. This finding was then misconstrued and became the urban legend that there are six degrees of separation between any two people. Despite the widespread interest in the small world phenomena, little progress was made understanding it over the next thirty years.

Watts got interested in this problem when he was a graduate student in theoretical and applied mechanics. He and his advisor, Steven Strogatz, had been trying to understand how crickets' chirping becomes synchronized without a conductor cricket. Watts surmised that the timing of a cricket's chirp must be influenced by where it is located and the other crickets it is listening to. The ability to synchronize may depend on the structure of this network of crickets. The relationship between network structure and network phenomena such as synchronicity suddenly seemed broadly important, and he was surprised to learn how little mathematical attention it had garnered. Recalling the idea of "six degrees of separation," Watts and Strogatz turned to social networks and set about building simple models. Where Milgram had asked, "How small is the world?" they were now asking, "What does it take to make a world small?" This reframing of the problem was fundamental to the contribution they were to make.

Watts and Strogatz settled on modeling just two facets of social networks. One was the "small world" aspect, quantified as average path length (the number of links required to connect two randomly chosen people). The second was clustering, the extent to which my friends overlap with my friends' friends. What makes small world networks surprising is that short path lengths and high clustering are inherently antagonistic. Paul Erd?s and Alfred R?nyi rigorously proved that path lengths are short in networks with no inclination towards increased clustering, a random graph in the parlance of mathematicians. At the opposite extreme, if everyone was friends with all of their friends' friends, short path lengths would be impossible (in fact social groups would be completely disconnected from each other). After countless computer simulations, Watts had two important results. The alpha model captured the small world balance of path length and clustering. The beta model showed that if a network was systematically clustered, to the point of fragmentation, just adding five random links (edges) halves the average path length. He then began acquiring and examining network data sets. Remarkably, Hollywood actor collaborations, the neurology of C. Elegans, the power grid of the Western United States, interlocking boards of directors and the world wide web are all small world networks.

Next Watts reviews the work by L?zl? Barab?si, a physicist at the University of Notre Dame. His major contribution is research on scale free networks. Sociologists have long been concerned with questions surrounding the number of connections (degree) people have. Barab?si realized the importance of the degree distribution in a network. The degree distribution of many networks is approximately Poisson but Barabasi showed that the degree distribution of other important networks follows the highly skewed power-law. The distribution of wealth and the size of cities both fit this model. Furthermore he showed that this distribution will follow if the future growth rate is linearly related to the present size. This has obvious implications for these two examples and calls to mind Merton's Matthew Effect.

Barab?si's book, Linked, is similar to Six Degrees in that is geared to the general public and reviews many of the most important advances in network scholarship. Do Watts and Barab?si overstate their case? Rather than get bogged down in the semantic debate that is likely to arise from the claim to a "new" science, we should appraise the value of this line of research. It clearly has potential but Watts himself sometimes alludes to the difficulties in achieving that potential. Watts' work is mostly theoretical. Six Degrees offers a thought provoking network perspective on many topics but little help harnessing the theory in empirical work. Appropriate data may be hard to come by. Perhaps Watts has provided ideas that creative empiricists will find ways to exploit, but there are methodological challenges that may prove to be stubborn.

Despite some important exceptions such as Granovetter's Strength of Weak Ties sociologists have tended to take one of two approaches. One was to focus on the relationship between social structure and network structure. The other was to view network ties as sources of information or influence. This means exploring the association between position in a network, and a node's identity or power. Watts is right to call attention to the fact that these approaches usually ignored dynamics: changes in the network structure (changes in network connections), and what individuals do on the network (search for information, spread rumors, make decisions). Network data that captures these dynamics may be harder to come by.

Furthermore, large detailed datasets may be limited by the computational power available. Even simple computer simulations can be very computationally demanding. Threshold models of decision making, discontinuous phase transitions and cascades - many of the fundamental concepts in the study of networks are nonlinear. Proving the existence of causal relationships is always a challenge but these complex systems make a hash of everything. The measured effect of an independent variable, on average or at the margin, tells us little about the importance of that variable.

Despite a reasonable display of humility and respect, Watts should be criticized for the sociology he leaves out. Neither space limitations, nor a rush to publication can justify the gaps in his otherwise helpful recommendations for further reading. For example, Blau, Burt, Coleman, Homans, Laumann, Marwell and Oliver are conspicuously absent from the list. Perhaps this observation should not be overanalyzed but it does brings us back to how Watts will be received by sociologists and what impact he and scholars outside the discipline will have on sociology. It is hard for this reviewer to understand how anyone who reads this book could come away uncertain of the value of mathematics for theory development as well as empirical analysis. Model building can simplify and clarify, enhancing our intuition. Watts would never argue that all sociologists should drop what they're doing and begin running computer simulations, just that we should be open to such approaches. As he points out, "For any complex system, there are many simple models we can invent to understand its behavior. The trick is to pick the right one. And that requires us to think carefully, to know something about the essence of the real thing." Sociologists know something about the real thing. That's why we can't leave all the modeling to physicists and economists.
14 de 15 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
5.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas Definitely a monumental work 19 de marzo de 2003
Por J. Lin - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa dura
I enjoyed reading this book and recommend it higly to anyone who would like to know why this "world" is so small.
I completely disagree with one reviewer in his comments that the author of this book suffers from the self-importance exultance syndrom. Yes, we have all suffered from the annoyance "larger than life" figures that some authers try to impose on us while we have been looking the hidden beef. But, not in this case.
In fact, I feel the presentation is thoughtful and humble. Moreover, the writing is elegant, lucid and crisp. The book gives a clear picture of an imprtant emerging field, provides the background of where it came from, and give a vision of how it may evolve. I cannot but admire the creativity, diligence and the vision of the author.
Putting down the book, I can still hear the echo of the gasp the auther uttered, "How did we miss that?" How can this not be a good read?
23 de 27 personas piensan que la opinión es útil
4.0 de un máximo de 5 estrellas networks in a variety of contexts 29 de enero de 2003
Por A Reader - Publicado en
Formato: Tapa dura
Watts is one of the co-discoverers of small-world networks and this book joins others like 'Linked' by Barabasi and 'Nexus' by Mark Buchanan as a user-friendly introduction to the study of networks. It manages to cover a lot of ground and makes a persuasive case for the use of network models in fields as diverse as biology, economics and management and physics. I think this will make it interesting to a whole range of people. As a Math student studying biological networks I found the recap of the work on small-worlds very clear and useful. The style is fluent and brisk and the book expands on the types of networks under consideration in an exploratory and interesting manner. As the author shifts contexts, the need for networks with different features is made apparent and the plot unfolds like a good detective story. The bibliography is pretty cool too - it seems unusual that the same person would care to read the variety of items listed, but I think that's what might make this book appealing and stimulating to people working in a range of fields.
In addition to small-world networks, there is fair coverage of scale-free networks and random nets, percolation and disease models. I'm not as mystified by the number '1' being a critical parameter in the connectivity of random networks and the reproduction rate for disease spreading. The sections on industrial economics and fads are at least as good as those of Barabasi and Buchanan. And the interesting details of more recent models and modifications (including mention of analytical solutions and the range of approaches to obtaining them) are presented in a weirdly informative non-technical manner.
Hope there's a more technical work on the way
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