Thursday, January 25, 2007

All About Networks

Ever wondered about the so-called Six Degrees of Separation? I'm sure most people have heard of it before, but probably very few have tried to analyze the phenomenon in a principled manner.

Luckily for Cornell students, a new course being offered this semester, titled "Networks", will attempt to tackle just that problem. Taught jointly by Professor Kleinberg from Computer Science and Professor Easley from Economics, this course will examine a number of networks, both virtual and physical, which we find in the world today. These networks, of course, include social networks, which provide the framework for explaining this Six Degrees of Separation phenomenon.

Aside from your standard workload requirements, this course also keeps a class blog, which is maintained by yours truly. Students are required to make posts to the blog several times over the course of the semester, and will be graded on the quality and relevance of said posts.

With that being said, this is an entry level course without any specified prerequisite courses. As such, the material of this course will only graze the surface of the vast amount of research conducted in this area. Those seeking more mathematically rigorous material can check the reading list from the graduate level information networks course I took last year (also taught by Professor Kleinberg).

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